Here is the thing: the world is changing so fast that the moment you catch up on one thing, the next change is already happening. This is a challenge for everyone. For your customers, your prospects, your organisation and for you. We are all in the same boat. The fact is that those who can adapt to these changes the best will stay on top and, in our sales profession, will outsell their competitors. And that is what front-line sales executives want. They want to do better than their competitor sales reps and hit their targets.
And although they are super motivated to unlearn old habits when on the “battlefield”, the reality is different: Demanding customers, being stuck in traffic, dealing with stalled opportunities and competitors price driven tactics, following up on requests from other departments, scheduling appointments for next week – do I need to go on? These all distract their focus to becoming better in the new way of selling.
No wonder the one person front line Salespeople are looking up to and at the same time are screaming for help is… the Sales Manager. They need someone who can see the forest from the trees, someone who can bring calm, guidance and focus. How do you do that? Here are my 1-2-3 for Sales Managers to Lead, Coach, and Manage like never before:
Lead Like Never Before
The new way of selling requires leadership in the sense of providing vision and purpose. Your team will encounter challenges they have not experienced before, such as slowing down their sales cycle. Their dream prospects will only make a change if there is consensus amongst the buying room that a change will be beneficial for their business. This may take more time. But with your help, your sales team will start to believe in the new way of selling as the only way forward. The longer sales cycles will return to more loyal and profitable customers.
- Inspire your team to read more sales blogs about the new way of selling.
- Read the book Selling Will Never Be The Same Again – ask your team to do the same.
- Discuss chapters of these at your team meetings.
- Challenge your team to reflect on unsuccessful opportunities and what could have been done differently.
- Walk the talk and get other senior managers involved. The new way of selling is not only a Sales thing but rather a cultural shift for the whole company.
- Help Each Other.
Coach Like Never Before
Great sales managers spend at least 70% of their time coaching their sales team. Although the coaching method may not have changed, your questions have.
- Change your coaching questions to support building a business case for change.
- Help them become comfortable with the uncomfortable.
- Build confidence in your team to talk to their customers about the risk of not changing
- At team meetings, ask your team to share insights they have shared with their customers. Let them learn from each other.
- Spend time on developing Business Acumen. Your sales team needs your help and the realization that buyers do not buy from salespeople with the greatest sales acumen. Instead, the need for change only becomes clearer if your sales teams can lay out a solid business case for change.
Coaching is no longer helping the coachee find tactical actions to close the deal. Instead, coaching becomes the new way of finding together enough strategic reasons for the prospect to change. Then decide on actions on how best to achieve that. Who in the buying room are potential change champions and opposers to change, and how can you bring these on board?
Manage Like Never Before
Time is the greatest enemy for your sales team to sell from the buyer’s perspective. The new way of selling takes more time, and they need your help with reducing time-stealers.
- Inspire your cross-functional colleagues to step up like never before. Your sales execs are not billing experts nor super customer service agents, and certainly no administration gurus. How can other experts in your organization help with being ahead of the curve so that Sales is not the default bottleneck of customer issues?
- Drive efficiency and help your team to become the best in the industry.
- Ensure your team is clear on targets and the strategies on how to get there.
- Convert the company’s priorities into achievable, smaller, and practical chunks.
- Clearly communicate what is needed, and motivate each team member to be accountable for their individual actions.
The best way of helping your team is to be well-organized in terms of daily, weekly, and monthly activities. Your team relies on you to provide calm and confidence during challenging times. Put these three recommendations together, and you will Inspire Like Never before!
Feel free to share this post with your team.
If you are still on a summer (or winter) holiday break, here are my recommended books for you to read: