Sales team management is difficult. So much so that the average tenure of a sales leader is less than two years.
A big reason that so many sales leaders struggle is that their organizations promote them from the role of an individual contributor, but then provide no management training. Sales management requires a very different set of skills than just selling, but it’s not always obvious what those are.
That’s why we put together the top five abilities every sales team management hire you make should have, based on our work with hundreds of modern sales leaders.
What every sales team management hire must be able to do
1. Define sales strategy and identify key selling activities
Any person involved in sales team management should be able to design a sales process that aligns with their buyer’s journey. Whether that means growing revenue by selling a new product or increasing market share, sales leaders must be able to define the strategy that the team will use to achieve that goal.
Effective sales managers take an inputs-drive-outputs approach to designing their go-to-market strategies. When they identify a goal like increasing share of wallet, sales leaders determine the correlating activities that will lead to that result, such as creating better account plans or connecting with more VP-level decision makers. They select 3-4 top activities for reps to focus on. And they assign them as key performance indicators. Click here for a step-by-step guide to define key selling activities.
2. Calculate metric goals and align their team around them
This is a critical skill. Sales team management requires taking your entire team’s quota and reverse engineering it to figure out how many of each key selling activity you need to hit revenue goals (This article contains an easy, five-step process to do just that).
But leadership can’t just create sales metrics and dump them on the team. Effective sales team management takes steps to sure the sales team is fully aligned around those metrics. This can be achieved through four quick steps outlined here, which include providing sales scorecards and making metrics visible throughout the organization.
4. Monitor and course-correct performance
Modern sales team management means keeping a finger of the pulse on your team at all times. This is not the same as micromanagement, which involves excessive control, scrutiny or participation over the work of your reps. Sales leaders effectively monitor their team with constant access to real-time data and activity performance against goals. This is where sales activity management systems come in handy.
Real-time performance data allows sales leaders to course-correct. When a metric falls behind, they can quickly rally the team around it with a contest or spiff. In addition, they are able to easily identify who and what to coach. Learn how to course-correct sales performance in this blog.
4. Support and develop team members
This is the most important role in sales team management. Sales leaders must take the time to get to know each of their reps so that they can manage and motivate them accordingly. Effective managers make themselves a resource for their team, providing help and removing obstacles where needed.
Sales team management also entails developing the professional skills of team members through sales coaching, certifications and one-on-one sessions. Good sales managers find ways to align the personal goals of reps with overall company initiatives. This draws alignment between what the reps and company – as a whole – are trying to achieve.
Sales team management is no easy task. That’s why all sales leaders should have a firm grasp of these five skills.