“Our management team is highly effective in helping our sales team advance sales opportunities.” In MHI Global’s 2013 Sales Best Practices study only about a third of the respondents agreed with that statement.
And we hear the same thing from salespeople anecdotally: “Our sales managers aren’t helping enough.” In contrast, what the study shows, and what our own experience in the field bears out, is that the most successful sales organizations say just the opposite.
In the companies that we call “World-Class Sales Performers,” sales managers are seen as an essential resource in the creation and management of opportunities. They provide insights and counsel that improve sales acumen and efficacy.
In fact, when we look at the gap that separates average or under-performing sales organisations from the most successful ones, the way frontline sales managers are viewed and used stands out as an important differentiator.
Salespeople themselves will always bear the ultimate responsibility for helping customers make the right decision and winning the business, and top sales professionals are known for their competitive drive and finding ways to get the job done. But sales managers who have the time and the encouragement from leadership to focus on talent development and opportunity management can dramatically improve their team’s win rate.
In average companies, the sales manager is likely to be seen as a “forecast accountant” whose main responsibility is to collect and interpret numbers to report up the line to management. World-Class Sales Performers, on the other hand, see forecasting and numbers gathering as a function of technology.
World-Class Sales Performers limit the data demands on their sales managers to give them more time to help salespeople strategise and to collaborate across departments to line up the resources needed to win opportunities. Frontline sales managers can make the difference between average results and great results, and it’s up to sales leadership to ensure that the organisation supports these efforts.