From Leaderboard to Leadership: 7 Steps to Becoming a Great Sales Manager
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There’s a huge difference between being a top salesperson and leading a team of salespeople. Most sales managers come from the ranks of top performing salespeople. But not all top performing salespeople make great sales managers. Those who make it follow these seven rules:

1. Become a master of change.

This article
from Selling Power magazine points out that business is chaotic and unpredictable. Markets change. Styles change. Products change. The best sales managers face calmly and enthusiastically adjust to whatever challenge lies ahead.

Many salespeople see the changes in terms of what they have to give up.  The best salespeople see this pain as a price for gain. They see the opportunity. To be a great sales manager, you have to help the rest of your team see that opportunity, too.

Even salespeople who resist change latch onto Rollio. It uses artificial intelligence to spare reps from the chore of manually typing CRM updates into the system. Click here for a demo.

2. Earn their trust.

You may think you’re watching your reps, but your reps are watching you. They judge you not by what you say, but what you do.

So be true to your word and be firm. If you set rules or deadlines, enforce them. If you schedule meetings hold them. Don’t become one of those managers who blows with the wind, changing viewpoints with every new person who walks into your office.

Be consistent. And if you make a mistake, admit it. Even people who criticize you for mistakes will respect that.

3. Give feedback, positive and negative.

Remember what it’s like to be a rep. If there’s no pat on the back or celebration for goals hit and deals won, you second guess the effort you put into the job. If there is no consequence for missing a goal, there’s no reason to work so hard.

Set clear expectations and realistic goals. Then check in regularly, balancing criticism with positive reinforcement.  Don’t wait for quarterly or annual reviews to let reps know where they stand. Delayed feedback has less punch.

You can help salespeople reach their goals with Rollio. It eliminates hours of manual CRM entry, replacing it with seconds of conversation with a digital assistant. Click here for a demo.                                                               

4. Build enthusiasm.

Games work. The article reports that one company created a Survivor contest, where reps earned points for calls, appointments, demos and those with the fewest points got booted off their tribal team. Productivity jumped and people shared ideas across teams.

On the other hand, a company that’s just had layoffs may not be in much of a mood for games. Honesty is the best policy. Take your reps aside, one by one, and explain the situation. Explain that that the best chance to come back is everybody pulling together to as a team. This approach helped one company turn around in nine months and only one salesperson resigned.

5. Get involved.

The best sales managers don’t overly preoccupy themselves with the quality of the leads or pitfalls of the marketing plan. They don’t hide behind paperwork. They hold themselves

accountable to and being responsible for the results of the team. And they’re down in the trenches, leading from the front.

Be visible to their customers and accessible to the sales team. Answer questions. Demonstrate sales techniques. Use your pipeline meetings for coaching, not forecasting. If possible, go out in the field with their reps, so they can give firsthand feedback. If you’re with them they’ll be with you.

6. Grow and Develop Your Team.

Successful sales managers know how to get the job done for the company while helping each individual rep achieve his or her full potential. And by that we mean, career potential, not quarterly sales goals.

Sales and motivational seminars may be good for a short-term boost, but long term, your salespeople need better business acumen, and a better understanding of people and behaviors. Don’t leave this development to chance. Create a focused plan to help each rep build on strengths and overcome weaknesses.                                                       

7. Lead people to never-ending improvement.

Improvement doesn’t mean innovation. Every quarter, a sales manager has to innovate. Last minute changes in sales strategies and execution are needed to hit goals. But improvement is a slower, more deliberate process.

Never-ending improvement is a constant vigil on the basics of how you do your job. Is there a performance measure that will give you better insight into performance? Is your sales process as strong as it can be? How do you manage your own time, how you motivate people and develop people?

Rollio is one simple step you can take to improve your processes and performance. The artificial intelligence lets reps update Salesforce in their own conversational styles. You eliminate manual typing, and give reps more time to sell.  Click here for a demo.

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