While reps are out selling, managers have limited visibility to the day-to-day activities that make up results (or lack there of). Managers must constantly look for ways to support their teams by gaining visibility into what’s happening in the field so that they can better coach, train, and amplify the careers of their field sales teams.
Five things effective sales managers focus on to get the best results from their teams
Sales management is challenging, but not complicated. In fact, the most successful sales managers are focused on a few basic, but impactful things to improve their understanding of their team’s day-to-day activities and challenges.
In this resource, we’ll talk about five things great sales managers focus on to improve their visibility and ensure they are in the best position to set their teams’ up for success. For each topic, we’ll provide a practical tip you can apply immediately.
#1 | Clear Communication is King
Clear communication + Clear expectations = Results
Whether it’s a marriage, a friendship, or a work connection, the quality and consistency of your communication habits will make or break your relationships. Great communication ensures that everyone involved is clear on expectations, marching toward the same outcome, and familiar with where they stand. Poor communication, on the other hand, often leads to mismatched anticipations and disappointment.
In a management scenario, communication is necessary to clarify desired outcomes, maximize productivity and minimize churn, and perhaps most importantly, prevent frustration and failure.
For outside sales teams, clear communication is critical.
To get the best results from field reps, effective sales management should use a mix of communications tools including messenger apps, email, team meetings, dashboards, and one-to-one conversations to keep the lines of communication active. Concentrating on predictability and consistency. THIS might mean following a consistent and predictable cadence, like a weekly email update. It may also mean ensuring that all 1:1 meetings follow a focused, recurring agenda that hits on the most important aspects of the sales rep’s role, productivity and development.
Without compromising predictability, sales managers must continuously evaluate the internal communications strategy; looking for gaps and areas of misalignment and make the necessary changes to ensure open and effective communication among the team.
Pay attention to what’s working well and keep an eye on where and how the team prefers to receive and provide information to make it as communication as easy as possible.
And it’s not just about written and spoken communication – Leveraging dashboards and data to convey targets and progress in a way that’s clear and easy to consume.
If you’re looking to improve communication with your team immediately, ask them what’s working and what’s failing. Give reps an opportunity to share their ideas on how you can improve. Demonstrate that you’re listening and value the feedback by launching a new communications method based on their feedback immediately.
Communication is a two-way street, and everyone needs to have skin in the game to make it a success.
#2 | Feedback Fuels Growth
Speaking of two-way streets, great sales managers are focused on feedback. Whether that’s being open to receiving feedback or being authentic, constructive and vulnerable when providing feedback, the best managers know that deliberate feedback motions fuel growth and are necessary to drive results.
Being open to receiving feedback
It’s not always easy to hear honest and open feedback – in fact, for most people, it’s downright hard and can make you feel defensive or hopeless. With that in mind, provide opportunities for your team to share feedback and create a safe feedback environment which encourages reps to be open and vulnerable.
Giving constructive feedback
Giving feedback can be just as hard as getting it – especially when you feel your feedback may damage a relationship. To avoid awkwardness, the best sales managers make feedback part of a regular, predictable cadence. This ensures that there are no surprises, and when constructive feedback is required, it doesn’t have to be weird or unnatural. Remember, feedback is not just about how to improve; it’s important that you also focus on what the person is doing well so they know to keep it up.
If you’re looking to improve in giving feedback, make a list of ways you give and receive feedback today in both formal and informal settings. Evaluate whether feedback is genuinely part of your rhythms. If not, build it in.
#3 | Salespeople love rewards and recognitions
Everyone loves to be recognized and rewarded for their growth and contributions. The best sales managers know that salespeople, in particular, need to be recognized and rewarded for achieving their goals, as well as progress along the way.
Like communication and feedback, consistency and predictability is key. Consider implementing monthly, quarterly and annual recognition programs that celebrate wins and give the broader team something to aspire to. Depending on your budget, rewards might include bonuses or monetary prizes, but most importantly they must convey a message that hard work and results are recognized.
Keep in mind, recognition is more than just rewards. Ensure that recognition of great progress is a recurring part of your communication.
#4 | Invest in your People through Training and a Focus on Career Development
Proactively investing in your team’s development is one of the best ways to fuel the growth and improvement. It’s also a great way to contribute to job satisfaction and minimize attrition.
A focus on career development
A strong and motivated sales team is not likely to be okay with a stagnant career path. Demonstrate that you’re invested in the long-term success of your reps by making career development a priority. They may use a standard/specific career development template to hit on key topics like where the sales rep sees their career going in 1,5, and 10 years and what specific things they are doing to get there.
One important way to promote development is to provide regular training. Ensure that training is a regular part of the schedule and that training is focused on things important to the organization and the team.
Besides sales training or company-specific training, training can be focused on other important skills like communication, technology adoption, and data management.
#5 | Technology is Your Best Friend
You don’t know what you can’t see or measure, so you need a way to ensure reps are able to communicate and annotate details of their interactions and activities. That’s where an investment in a field sales focused software comes into play. Bolting a mobile-first solution onto your CRM gives reps an intuitive tool making their field data entry a breeze, eliminate guesswork, and focuses them on the highest impact activity.
You need a solution designed with a mobile workflow at the forefront so that reps can easily input the data and information you need from their mobile device while they’re out in the field. When given a mobile friendly app, reps can easily share that data that helps sale managers gain visibility into sales activities needed to grow their teams and close more deals.
Good reps don’t need to be told what to do or micromanaged, they need tools to help them make the most of their day; reducing tedious and tie consuming tasks.
Stick with the basics
Sales management is a tough role, but it doesn’t need to be complicated. By using these five simple strategies to improve visibility to the day-to-day activities that make up results, sales management can be a predictable and clear. With that advantage, sales managers can spend less time navigating ambiguity and more time supporting their field sales teams and amplifying their growth and success.
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