Frontline managers are the single most important member of any sales organization. At least according to the 2017 Sales Management Research Report published by the Sales Readiness Group and SellingPower. This report identifies “5 Hallmarks of High-Impact Sales Organizations” by comparing high-impact organizations against average-to-low performing organizations.
1. Spend more time on sales coaching
Sales managers at high-impact sales organizations spend more time coaching than their lower performing peers. These high-impact sales organizations consistently spend time with reps to address their strengths and weaknesses. This also helps to create a space for reps and managers to talk openly and candidly about performance and career progression. One challenge with implementing this is that 73% of frontline sales managers have received little-to-no training on how to coach effectively.
2. Clear expectations, feedback, KPIs
Not surprisingly, high-impact sales organizations are better at managing sales performance than their peers. This includes clearly defining and communicating performance expectations to salespeople, providing regular and actionable feedback, and monitoring and reviewing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Keeping the most important KPIs in front of your reps is key to driving their performance.
3. Improve your hiring process
Not surprisingly, high-impact sales organizations have a better process to hire salespeople. Frontline managers are more involved in the interview process and they have designed a repeatable process that produces successful and qualified candidates. In addition to the frontline manager playing a larger role in the hiring process, we also recommend sales leaders look into using a sales management system to help decrease onboarding times via personalized scorecards and success plans.
4. Trust and transparency are critical
High-impact sales managers have earned the trust and respect of the rest of their sales organization. Successful frontline sales managers create and foster an environment of transparency, clearly communicate goals, and identify the goals and motivators of individual sales reps. In many cases, sales leaders will then look to institutionalize these best practices with software to personalize scorecards for every rep, broadcast performance to TVs around the office, and record private 1-on-1 conversations within their CRM.
5. Invest in your sales managers
Lastly, high-impact sales organizations invest in their frontline sales managers. 32% of high-performing sales organizations invested $2,000 or more on training and developing their frontline managers, compared to only 7% for low-performing sales organizations. The focus of these training investments were typical on how to improve the sales coaching abilities of the manager.
The key takeaway from the 2017 Sales Management Research Report:
The abilities and performance of frontline sales managers are critical to the success of your entire sales organization.
This report really resonated with us as LevelEleven is 100% focused on the success of sales leaders. We have seen first-hand the impact that high-performing sales leaders can have on an organization, which is why we built a complete sales management system that empowers sales managers to clearly define their expectations in a transparent way, monitor performance against KPIs, and reinforce the desired rep behaviors via coaching. Please check out our product overview to learn more.