Imagine one day being dropped into an unfamiliar landscape and told you must lead a team of people to a prescribed destination. There is no map and no further instruction. To complicate matters, you must deal with a constant barrage of distractions and demands along the way.
As unlikely as this sounds, this is essentially what it’s like to be a newly-promoted sales manager. In most cases, high-performing sellers are plucked out of their familiar role and inserted into the manager’s position without any training on how to navigate the new terrain. They are given a task of utmost importance – get their reps to quota – but little to no guidance for accomplishing it. And they are expected to achieve this task while dealing with an onslaught of unrelated requirements such as attending meetings, producing reports, and dealing with cross-functional issues. It’s no wonder many sales managers burn out quickly.
For new sales managers who may be feeling disoriented or overwhelmed in their new position, it can be helpful to think about the role as a GPS system for reps. Just as a GPS guides drivers to a defined destination, a manager can guide his or her team to quota by employing some of the same characteristics of this indispensable technology. Here are three ways in which sales managers can be more effective in their roles by operating like a GPS.
While there are many aspects of the sales manager’s job, arguably the most critical assignment is getting reps to quota. For new managers without training, this can be a daunting proposition. How do you work with multiple personalities and skills to get them from varying starting points to the end goal? How do you ensure they stay on track throughout the month or quarter? By thinking about the sales manager’s role within the broader framework of a GPS guiding a driver to a distant destination, new managers can better identify the activities and conversations necessary to get their teams from A to B – which should relieve enough stress for everyone to enjoy some of the scenery along the way.
Michelle Vazzana is co-author of Cracking the Sales Management Code and a partner with Vantage Point Performance. Michelle is a sought-after speaker on the topics of sales management and sales transformation, and she is a regular contributor to the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) and the Sales Management Association (SMA).
Michelle has personally trained and coached thousands of salespeople, sales managers, and sales leaders. She has designed and facilitated programs for effective sales management, coaching and reinforcement, face-to-face selling, major account sales strategy, and telesales. She designs and implements global end-to-end engagements for clients that create the environment for long-term performance improvement.
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