The Primary Objective of any Sales Manager is to achieve and consistently exceed sales forecast.
Sales Managers seem to have become reliant on software that measure activity, performance, and the conversion ratios of each of their salespeople. While these tools play an important role in helping Sales Managers manage their people and record the outcome, they do not record or measure the play-by-play actions that actually win or lose business. Software is incapable of identifying the twists and turns of every sales process; they just measure outcomes. So, if you want to win more business than ever, spend time watching the game rather than measuring the game stats and final score via your CRM systems. The practice of finetuning a salesperson’s selling skills, storytelling, oral communication skills, telephone skills, listening skills, written communications skills, prospecting skills, to mention but a few, can only be achieved when the Sales Manager spends 80% of their working hours in the company of the people who report to them. A Good Sales Managers will have an action plan for the following •Get to know the Micro skills strengths and weakness of each person in their sales team. •Have a strong opinion about what training is needed for each salesperson in their team. •Implement a Micro Skills Development plan for each team member. •Know how to help each salesperson win more business. •Know the ambitions and goals of each team member. •Have a coaching plan that helps team members realise their ambitions and goals Sales Managers cannot be present when every sales opportunity is identified, qualified, demonstrated, closed, and so they cannot observe the sales process during each of these phases that either won the business or caused it to be lost. By spending 80% of their time with their salespeople in face-to-face calls, phone calls to suspects/prospects/customers, and any other sales engagement process, you will build an extraordinarily strong understanding of why conversion ratios differ from salesperson to salesperson. You cannot fix what is broken until you know it is broken. That means you must be present when there is a breakdown in the first instance—before you’ll know how to coach the salesperson on ways to secure the desired outcome. While spending time with your salespeople, you will sometimes see sales being lost in the moment and the temptation to step in to win the business will be almost overwhelming. From my perspective, it’s better to lose momentum on a deal and use it as the best coaching opportunity you will ever have because no deal is ever lost, its just an opportunity looking for a better conclusion, so use the kerbside conferences after the call to coach Micro Skills and get back into the deal. Remember, rugby coaches do not run onto the field, make tackles, or score points for the team. They use game videos to replay the turning points of a game and coach players how to do things differently next time. Spending time with your salespeople will help you identify the skills development opportunities of each person in your team, and from there, develop a coaching plan on how to address these micro-selling skills. When navigating with a compass, you’ll find it is useless unless you know where the fifth point of the compass is: ‘where you are now’. Trouble is, it’s not until we push into this ‘unknown’ corner of our knowledge that we will find out how poorly equipped we were to make decisions about what direction to take. Start by developing a list of Micro skills applicable to your industry. Remember our example of the Micro Skills Development plan featured in Chapter Sixteen where I feature a chart that displays a hypothetical salesman with his current and projected Micro Skills development.