Consider this scenario. Ollie is the sales team’s highest-performing sales rep quarter after quarter. His consistency and performance are acknowledged with a promotion to sales manager. However, as a sales manager, Ollie fails to manage and lead his team to success.
This situation happens far too often among sales teams. A sales rep might be a top performer but doesn’t have what it takes to successfully fulfill the roles and duties of a sales manager. Additionally, without proper management training and skill-building, a new sales leader is severely underprepared. CareerBuilder reports that more than 26% of managers said they weren’t ready to become a leader when they started managing others, and 58% said they didn’t receive any management training at all.
Tailored sales manager training is necessary because the role requires a different set of skills from those used as a sales rep. There’s also a direct correlation between sales management training and team performance. A study by ATSD found that managers who receive sales leadership training are more likely to see a larger number of their reps meet, and even exceed their sales quota. However, companies that don’t provide training for sales managers are more likely to have their sales team missing quota.
At the end of the day, sales managers are responsible for building, leading, growing, and managing a team of sales reps. In order to drive team performance, sales leaders must be equipped with the knowledge and skills to do these things effectively. Here are five key training needs for sales managers:
Hiring the right teammates
Sales managers play an important role in attracting and finding new candidates to join their team. Whether they need to replace a recently promoted rep or simply grow the team with new members, it takes a lot of skills and knowledge to figure out how to hire sales reps. That’s why the best sales manager training helps new leaders learn about the hiring process. This gives them the chance to walk through best practices and identify the right questions to ask. This type of sales training will help them hire the best and brightest for their team.
Understanding and establishing goals
Great sales managers understand company goals, then establish departmental goals that appropriately align with business objectives. While it’s important that every employee has a clear understanding of company goals, sales managers in particular should receive additional, in-depth training about the implications of each strategic goal. This knowledge provides sales managers with the insight needed to create specific, measurable, attainable, and relevant sales goals that directly impact the company’s bottom line.
Setting expectations and delegating tasks
Once a new sales manager understands the implications of company and team goals, they need to set expectations and delegate responsibilities to reps. When individual reps move into a management role, they quickly realize that they can’t do everything. Therefore, new sales managers need training that equips them with the skills to effectively communicate sales expectations and delegate tasks to ensure that the team is productive. Sales teams work best—and achieve ambitious goals—when they know exactly what is expected of them.
Everyone makes mistakes, but a great sales leader provides constructive feedback so that reps can learn from their mistakes. New sales managers must become experts at giving feedback in a way that builds employees up, rather than bringing them down. Effective sales management training courses teach sales managers how to provide effective, specific, and honest feedback that elicits respect and results from sales reps. No one likes being told that their work is lacking, but, as a manager, relaying this information is a fundamental part of sales management and its objectives.
In addition to offering feedback, sales managers need to provide effective sales performance coaching to drive improved sales performance. However, this is a difficult skill to master and requires in-depth sales coaching training. While sales managers likely received coaching in their prior role as a rep, it takes a new set of knowledge and skills to successfully coach others. New sales managers need sales coaching techniques that maximize coaching sessions. Sales managers with great coaching skills drive improved sales performance, increased sales rep engagement, and higher job satisfaction—all of which are essential to a great sales team.
There’s more to creating a successful sales manager than just promoting the top-performing sales rep. The best sales training programs focus on the forecasting, planning, communicating, and coaching skills that new managers need to be proficient in. It takes a smart and detailed sales management training program to prepare them for the challenges they’ll face in the new role. But, when done correctly, their newfound talent will lead the team to better work.If you’re ready to deliver effective sales management training to your leaders, we can help. Check out our online sales training and coaching platform.