9 Killer Sales Management Tips from Top Experts

7 Killer Sales Management TipsA great sales manager has the power to raise an entire team’s performance. It’s no coincidence that some of the most successful sales organizations not only have recruited great sales managers, but have also provided those managers with the training and sales tools they need to coach their team to success.

We scoured the web for the most valuable sales management advice from some of the world’s most effective sales leaders. The following excerpts reveal the vitality of sales management, the importance of evidence-based sales coaching, the power of role specialization and more.

We’ve linked back to the original sources of these quotes and definitely recommend reading more from these transformative sales leaders.

Stop Cringing When it Comes to Social Selling


  • Josiane Feigon
    @JosianeFeigon

  • According to Josiane Feigon, sales managers need to do a better job of providing reps with social sales training. She points out that managers have shown reluctance to provide social sales training due to skepticism that social media can really create new sales opportunities. But Feigon rightly challenges sales managers to stop cringing when it comes to social sales. “LinkedIn is now the primary inside sales tool. I especially agree with [LinkedIn’s Social Marketing Manager] Koka Sexton, who says it has killed the cold call. Inside Sales Managers need to pick up speed FAST on how LinkedIn has transformed the inside sales landscape.”

Sales Managers are the Key to a Humming Sales Organization


  • Jim Keenan
    @keenan

  • Jim Keenan, President and CEO of A Sales Guy Consulting and Recruiting, believes that sales managers are perhaps the most undervalued players in a sales organization. According to Keenan, “Sales managers are the key to a humming sales organization. They spend more time with your sales people than anyone else in the company. They perform the coaching sessions. They lead the pipeline review meetings. They create the personal development plans … They distribute the quotas. They manage to the quotas. They influence the deal strategies. They resolve territory disputes. They sit next to, talk with and are closer to the sales people than any other person (role) in the company. Sales managers are the lynchpins to success in sales organizations.”Keenan’s quote eloquently summarizes the value of a sales manager and demonstrates why your company should take the time and invest the resources in hiring great sales managers.

The Importance of Coaching Reps to Follow a Sales Process


  • S. Anthony Iannarino
    @iannarino

  • Sales managers are only as good as their sales process. Virtually any sales process is better than following no process at all. According to S. Anthony Iannarino, “Your sales process isn’t perfect. But it’s better than a sharp stick in the eye. Your salespeople skip whole stages of your sales process, and by doing so they don’t create value for your prospects or gain the commitments they need. You need to sell them on the process. Then you need to coach to the process. You need to follow the process.”

The Importance of Real-Time Visibility


  • Lori Richardson
    @Scoremoresales

  • Lori Richardson points how important it is for sales managers to get a real-time view of sales reps’ performance. “One way to give a big assist to sales leaders is through helpful tools that can offer insight into how sales reps are really performing. They need immediate access to data to learn how they can best help each rep. Long gone are the days when one person’s lack of skill should stop the whole sales floor to be addressed by a sales manager–now just the sales rep who needs skill development can be worked with, immediately saving thousands of dollars by not wasting the other reps’ time.”

You Can’t Manage from a Spreadsheet


  • Keith Rosen
    @KeithRosen

  • Without really observing reps and listening to recordings of sales calls, managers may be able to identify when reps aren’t hitting their targets, but they won’t know why. Keith Rosen points out that “managers think they already know what their people’s developmental gaps are, simply by looking at the person’s activity, results and a spreadsheet. You can’t manage from a spreadsheet. Data only tells you what is going on … It doesn’t provide insight into the quality of their activity and how effective and skilled they really are at performing a certain function, task, facilitating a conversation or their true selling acumen.”

Get All Your Sales Managers on the Same Page


  • Paul McCord
    @paul_mccord

  • Paul McCord from Paul McCord Training makes the point that before managers can effectively coach sales reps, they need to have the proper training themselves. According to McCord, “Each manager must understand what the company’s comprehensive, unified sales process is and how the particular training that is scheduled fits in the big picture; what short and long-term results are to be expected; what their job is in reinforcing and coaching the training; and what criteria will be used to determine the success or failure of the training. Most of all, each manager must believe in the process and strategy.”

Specialize Your Sales Team


  • Mark Roberge
    @markroberge

  • Hubspot’s Chief Revenue Officer Mark Roberge points out the importance of specializing sales reps early. This is key because some reps are great at selling to enterprise while others are better at targeting SMBs. When managers can figure out which prospects and industry verticals that reps are best at selling into, it can be a powerful revenue-driver. According to Roberge, “I had some sales people who were like, ‘Man, I hate these Fortune 5000 guys, I can never get them on the phone, but I love those plumbers, they pick up. I know they don’t have a lot of money, but I can get them to make a decision in an hour and be done.’ And other reps were like, ‘I hate these plumbers, they don’t have any money. I’m a strategic seller and I just want to deal with people who have better business acumen, and who will spend a little bit more.'”

Use Tools to Track Sales Data


  • Andy Paul
    @zerotimeselling

  • Zero Time Selling’s Andy Paul is a fellow believer in using sales enablement technology to help close deals. According to Paul, “It is critical to stay on top of your key sales metrics. Just make sure that they are actual measures and not estimates, assumptions or folklore. Metrics have no meaningful utility if they are not factual and accurate. The beauty of technology is that everyone has access to tools that can track your sales data.” Paul is a champion of using evidence-based sales processes. “Don’t guess,” Paul advises. “Then experiment with the process. Make changes to improve it and measure the outcome to ensure it has the desired result. Then keep measuring and refining.”

Invest in Management Training


  • Jonathan Farrington
    @topsalesworld

  • Expert sales trainer Jonathan Farrington points out that one of the biggest mistakes that companies make is not investing in adequate training for sales managers. Farrington points out that the vast majority of sales managers are appointed to their position because they were a top performer as a sales rep. However, he rightly points out that being a great sales manager requires a skill set that goes beyond simply crushing quota.According to Farrington, “You’re going from being responsible purely for yourself to being responsible for the future, success, and well-being of a whole team of people. It’s not an experience you can attain simply from watching other people – you’ve got to be properly trained. I would estimate that more than 90% of sales managers working in all industries have never had formal sales management training. And even those that have were trained after they had problems in their new management position that required that training to solve.”

About the Author

Jesse Davis

Jesse Davis is a sales and marketing strategist and Sr. Content Marketing Manager at RingDNA. Over the past decade, Davis has honed his business communications skills working as an inside sales manager, business writer and agency marketer. He is a proponent of utilizing platform technology and evidence-based methodologies to optimize creative campaigns, marketing ROI and sales performance.

2 Comments

  1. C’mon you guys… you should feature at least one woman sales expert. You know we are watching right? Here are a few to get you started: Jill Konrath, Lori Richardson, Colleen Stanley, Nancy Blecke, Nancy Nardin, Josiane Feigon… I can keep going. Point made and maybe next time?

    • Hey Trish, thanks for the note. You’re right – we definitely could have done a better job on this cut of the post, and you can look forward to seeing more sales leaders added to it by EOD. But before you judge us too unfairly, we’ve actually included a lot of the people you named in past content. Here’s one recently citing the best sales blogs that includes Lori, Jill and of course you, Trish! – http://www.ringdna.com/blog/the-10-best-b2b-sales-blogs Thanks for the other names you mentioned. We look forward to learning from them.

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