Quickest Way to Increase Sales
Profiles in Sales Management
By Brian Snader
It's often said the quickest way to increase sales is to train your salespeople
to sell more effectively. And there's one surefire way to improve the selling
behavior of your sales force that is so obvious it's often missed. It's
the quickest method of all... more effective than many large-scale sales
training programs, courses, techniques, and strategies concocted to streamline
selling. What is it?
The answer is: give your salespeople better sales managers. Under the leadership of a
great manager, good salespeople often become excellent, mediocre performers
are inspired to become good performers, and those near failure are terminated
and replaced with more effective salespeople. Great sales management works like magic: regardless of which district the superior sales manager takes over, regardless
of the raw material given to him or her to work with, salespeople will shift
upward in performance and morale as a group. Before long, that district
will improve significantly.
Sounds easy? Of course not, and for a few big reasons:
First, great sales managers are hard to find. More often than not, if you want
an entire team of great sales managers, you're going to have to work with
the sales managers you have and nurture them, bring out their potential
greatness, or contract the work out for someone else to do it for you.
Second, the best sales managers tend to be promoted. Although some people want
to remain sales managers for their entire careers, often the promotions
offered are too tempting to refuse. This means that sales manager vacancies
are a fact of corporate life, and the need for new sales manager blood
arises with rhythmic regularity.
Third, that new blood can only trickle down the pipeline from a few sources:
another companies' sales management, your own company's non-sales management,
or your current pool of sales representatives. With promotions of sales
representatives being the most frequent route for new sales management
influx, it only makes sense that newly promoted sales representatives need
nurturing in the transition.
In fact, selling and managing require such completely different skill sets
that even the best salespeople sometimes fail when promoted to sales management
positions. A solid sales management development program is crucial for
ongoing sales success.
Managing vs. Training?
But if sales management development is where it's at, does that mean that
sales representative training programs are a waste of time and money? If
all you need is a great sales management team to get high sales performance,
why bother with training the sales team in selling skills?
Training programs for salespeople are important because they frequently
boost the sales performance curve at strategic career junctures. Most salespeople improve their selling at first, but plateau eventually
without additional training interventions. Good training often provides representatives with insights that aid morale
as well as enhancing skills. It can also uncover and help to correct individual
selling problems that the sales manager might not have recognized.
But the key is to find a training program for your salespeople that your sales managers can own, drive, and use as a vehicle to make their own jobs easier. The programs
chosen must be compatible with the sales managers' methods and their ability
and desire to coach.
Sales training programs that fall outside the sales manager's area of control
are often ineffective. For example, imagine the owner of an athletic team shipping the players
off to training camp without their coach, then shipping them back to the
coach who is fuming with resentment that he wasn't included in the training
Dangers of Non-Involvement
Or imagine that the coach enjoys the week off but doesn't fully buy into
the training program that the team was shipped off to learn-and slowly
changes what they learned in camp to bring in their preferred concepts and
undermine the training investment. These scenarios reflect the way sales managers often think and feel when
Corporate purchases sales training programs without full sales manager
At Systema, we recommend you select comprehensive systems of sales and management assessment,
training, and development that can begin with any group, from a pilot group
of representatives or individual sales managers to an entire sales force,
independent contributors, and executive staff.
Given a choice, most companies invest primarily in developing
their sales representatives. But, is it a good investment to train the salespeople if you don't train their
managers? If you think about it, it's much less expensive to have your sales managers
train your salespeople rather than to have an outside "hired gun"
step in, do the job, and walk out.
Training sales managers to train salespeople makes more sense because sales managers
can offer ongoing coaching and because it ensures a more prompt return
For information on Systema's sales management development systems, e-mail
us at email@example.com
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