When it Comes to Accountability, Always Start with Sales Managers
Frontline Sales Managers are Hugely Under-Leveraged
Frontline sales managers can make or break sales teams because they drive accountability and coaching or should be. Do they know how?
When the team has seven or fewer salespeople, professional sales management from a competent Fractional Sales Manager is a better choice than no sales manager or even worse, the business owner taking on those responsibilities. It is difficult to leverage a full-time sales manager with small sales teams, but good sales coaching and accountability will accelerate growth so the investment will pay off.
Start by understanding the Sales DNA of the sales manager and their level of competency for the role. The sales manager role has 3 functions:
- Coaching the salespeople individually and as a team.
- Accountability. Managing goals through metrics of leading indicators weekly.
- Pipeline Management. Making sure the forecast is accurate.
Coaching is the most important and quickest way to accelerate performance and it should take up about 60% of the sales manager’s time. YES, 60%.Coaching is not doing for the salespeople but helping them discover better methodology, efficiency, and strengths development.
Coaching must be consistent, impactful, and entwined with sales opportunities but it’s not about a formal model all the time—we find coaching in the moment powerful. Salespeople are usually open to new ideas when the conversation is about their needs and they’ll remember the lessons better because it’s personal to them.
Coaching only inspires when done in a safe environment. Leaders must be tolerant of failures that come with learning. Pro Tip: Invite salespeople to fail in role plays or other forms of practice; they should feel safe to try new techniques.
Accountability Throughout the Sales Organization
Accountability ties back to the sales process and the sales methodology and a basic framework is a necessity for all sales teams. This segment of the sales manager role should consume 25-30% of their time.
Maintaining accountability is essential, but efficiency means not “baby-sitting” the salespeople. Constant conflict within the accountability framework means either the why behind the metrics and goals is insufficient or the salesperson isn’t the right fit. Identify the underlying cause then take swift action.
Salespeople must know exactly what is expected of them; why it is important and when it must be completed are essential for sustainable success. The sales manager gains agreement on the framework for weekly activities and behaviors and uses a CRM to track.
Managing the Pipeline is Essential
Managing the pipeline is part of the accountability framework. Are there enough deals? Are the deals in the proper stage of the sales process? The sales manager must review the sales pipeline in the CRM weekly for stalled deals and ones that are really dead, but the salesperson won’t pull the plug. The sales manager can coach around the situations that come about through the pipeline reviews. Is the Sales Manager equipped to do this?
Investing in sales training for salespeople without or before the sales managers is often a waste of money and time. Sales managers need support from leadership. They need to know how to coach and how to hold salespeople accountable. If the sales managers have the right Sales DNA, the company resources should target sales management first because this role drives growth.
The bottom line: sales managers perform critical functions that Owners and C-Level executives cannot adequately squeeze into their roles. It’s important to put the right person in place efficiently to drive growth and, understandably, this can feel like a tall order. Fractional Sales Management can fill the gap temporarily or permanently and at Helix Sales Development we have a variety of solutions to fit your needs.
With 30+ years of experience in business development, sales coaching, and sales management positions, Walter has gained deep understanding of, and rare insight into managing and implementing a sales process. His unique, best-in-class sales assessment tools and CRM software have proven to be exactly what businesses need to transform their sales team and process.
You owe it to yourself and your sales team to find out how Helix Sales Development can transform your business. Schedule a call today, and discover a renewed sense of potential for your business.