Sales managers deserve support from your organization, starting with a clear definition of what success looks like in their role. Great companies start with a strong blueprint that includes the processes and tools that enable sales managers to drive success at the team level.
Strong Territory and Account Plans
Sales managers who become masters at sale planning and execution do an excellent job helping sellers develop great territory and account plans. Whether a territory is based on a geography or a list of accounts, it’s a sales manager’s role to help sellers understand what constitutes their territory, as well as where the white space is within it. Typically, within a territory or geography, you’ll need to help sellers prioritize a list of top-tier accounts and then create account plans to execute against those accounts. A strong blueprint for territory and account plan helps sales managers define priorities, expand coverage and drive success for each seller in their designated market.
Defined Customer Landscapes
Great sales execution requires sales managers to teach their sellers the importance of navigating customer landscapes within each account. It’s important that companies support sales managers and sellers with a disciplined approach to uncovering company landscapes. When sellers understand the customer landscapes, they are better able to navigate successfully through critical dynamics that are in play.
- How do they go to market? - What trends are going on in their industry? - How are divisions structured within the organization?
The Political Landscape:
Teaching sellers to consider the political landscape means helping them understand what the organizational chart looks like. Understanding the political landscape starts with defining what roles and people will be key influencers within the organization. Navigating the political landscape helps sellers identify and develop champions inside the account. Great sales executors know that to be successful in an account, you’ll need to develop a champion - someone on the inside, who will fight on your behalf, even when you’re not there.
The Competitive Landscape:
Sales managers who drive great execution teach their teams to identify the competitive landscape. This means knowing who your competition is within the account and defining a success strategy to pursue the account, based on your value and differentiation among those competitors.
A Consistent Sales Operating Rhythm
Sales managers who lead a team of sellers, need an operating rhythm to align operationally around critical elements of sales execution. A great management operating rhythm helps managers know what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. Your operating rhythm acts as a playbook for managers, guiding the critical few sales activities that make the greatest impact on your bottom line. A strong and consistent sales cadence can help drive focus and results - for sellers, front-line sales managers and your organization as a whole.
To build great front-line sales managers, start by building a great foundation for success. That foundation requires organizational leaders to be intentional about providing the right mindset, processes and tools to support sales managers and their teams. The first step is to get honest about what your organization is doing to help your sales leaders drive success in their role. Once you know what's working and what's not, you can get focused on filling the gaps to help make your team more successful.