One key takeaway from the pandemic is the heightened importance of how sales managers communicate with their teams. Since the beginning, managers have dealt with a myriad of employee issues that require empathy and understanding. Unfortunately, many managers who were steeped in simply telling their teams what to do struggled as those messages fell silent. This was especially true with sales professionals who realized that they had many more employment options given the robust labor market (i.e., power had shifted from the company to the individual).
Achieving sales goals is an essential part of sales management. While an annual sales goal may be “imposed” on a sales manager based on a company’s overall budget, this should be viewed as a starting point for planning purposes.
Given the number of challenges sales organizations have encountered during the Covid pandemic, it is easy to lose sight of the importance of focusing on customers’ needs and priorities. While there are numerous distractions (personal and professional), organizations that are customer-driven have emerged stronger than ever.
Pipeline management is an ongoing challenge for sales managers. While it may seem that a pipeline with more opportunities is better, this isn’t the case if a large percentage of opportunities are stuck. These stalled opportunities lead to a bloated pipeline and create significant challenges for sales managers such as the following:
For some people, the word “sales” comes along with its own set of baggage and negative connotations. Your point of reference may relate to your personal experience with an overly aggressive “sales pitch” while going on a timeshare tour on your vacation. Or encountering manipulative “fear tactics” to purchase an extended warranty when you purchased your dishwasher. Unfortunately, this connotation can also find its way into business-to-business sales situations where companies get push back from their sales engineers and solution consultants who say their job is to help customers solve a problem - not to sell them more services.
In our research report 5 Hallmarks of High-Impact Sales Organizations, we identified sales coaching as the top sales management action to improve sales team performance. One of the key benefits of sales coaching is that it helps managers transition from chief problem solvers to sales team enablers. This force multiplier is particularly powerful as sales reps improve selling skills and learn techniques to advance sales opportunities.