10 sales management insights to optimize performance

Anyone in a frontline sales management role is more than likely a former salesperson who was very successful. It’s a natural progression. But if this is that person’s first management role, they’ll need to learn how to lead people.

Without leadership training, that person may revert to the old school style of sales management, where leaders micromanage and only care about what’s closing today. Or in an attempt to be metrics-driven, they could get lost trying to figure out exactly what to measure.

We’re all about empowering the modern sales leader. We recently hosted “The Inside Sales Evolution” webinar, which featured many helpful sales management insights for new leaders (and some refreshers for veterans).

When sales management is successful, sales reps are successful. So here are ten sales management insights from LevelEleven CEO Bob Marsh that will help optimize your team’s performance.

Significant sales management insights for the modern leader

1. “The modern sales manager believes in this concept that inputs lead to outputs. There’s plenty of good, experienced managers that grasp the concept and are very focused on closing. There’s no question. That shouldn’t change. But they understand that what we close is the output of the effort we put in.”

2. “These more modern sales leaders are more metrics-driven. They see themselves as mentors, and care about motivating their teams to do the things that really matter. They tend to drive more collaboration and want to understand how team members can learn from each other.”

3. “Modern sales managers tend to be very transparent. They provide very clear and candid feedback, but they’re also transparent around who’s doing what, who needs help and keeping everyone focused on what matters.”

4. “The modern sales leader tends to embrace technology. I think many people have faced the sales manager who doesn’t understand technology, doesn’t want to use technology. That can be a blocker. The true modern leader is often pulling the team along more [toward technology].

5. “Modern sales leaders really see themselves as coaches. I know that can seem touchy-feely sometimes, but they really understand and truly prioritize regular conversations with the sales team on where they should be spending their time, where they can improve, etc.”

6. “Companies tend to think about investing in technology or training to make the sales people better. But when you think about it, you can get a much bigger bang for your buck by helping make your managers better, because they can then go coach reps on getting better.”

7. “The reality is that any team is going to be a mix of A, B and C players. And the job of the sales manager is to get the most from the entire team. And because the majority of your sales team is made up of B players, putting time into coaching those middle performers can really move the needle. But a lot of frontline managers don’t know how.”  

8. “Sales activities are the things you can control, and can be proactively managed. The frontline sales manager should really own the activities that they can coach and manage around.” 

9. “Too many companies are missing out on getting to the granular level of understanding what are the activities or behaviors that affect the day-to-day performance of salespeople that are going to help accomplish those sales objectives and business results.”

10. “If you try to manage your team around business results or sales objectives, you’re going to struggle. You’re going to be running on a treadmill, and not getting anywhere. You really have to break it down to the controllable things that the sales manager can actually affect.”

Interested in getting more insights about the evolution of inside sales management? Check out the recording from our recent webinar.

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