The Current State of Sales Manager Training: 4 Lessons from New Research

Monday, May 2nd, 2016 - Post by MichelleVazzana

HiResOrganizations are rapidly coming to the same conclusion: sales managers are the key lever in driving improvement in sales. Whether a company targets higher market share, better account penetration, or some important outcome, sales managers are the principal mechanism for success. The key question is, “how do we best equip those all-important sales managers to get the job done?” Well, training is an important enabler to better sales management. In a recent research study examining the sales manager training of 213 firms, Vantage Point and the Sales Management Association shed light on the vital connection between better sales management and better sales results.

A Commitment to Training

First and foremost, organizations must be committed to training sales managers in order to drive better outcomes. In our study, a full 41% of participating companies did not have specific training initiatives aimed at the sales manager population. The companies with such initiatives in place—59%– outperformed the others, by 16%, in achieving their sales objectives. That’s a pretty startling difference. Let’s examine what those high achieving companies are doing and why it works.

What Companies Train

The type of training organizations provide to their sales managers matters. A lot. Unfortunately, about half of … Read the rest

Improving CRM Adoption: Making your CRM “Livable”

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016 - Post by Tom Disantis

CRMHave you ever lived in an apartment or house that you didn’t like? Maybe it was your college dorm room, or the first apartment after college that you could afford.

What do you remember of this place?

Were the walls so thin you could hear the neighbors talking?

Was the space too small or not laid out correctly, so you always felt cramped?

Were the floors made of linoleum or concrete so you could never keep warm and everything echoed?

For this article, let’s call this place “House Have To”—you had to live here because you needed a place to live, study, or work, but you didn’t actually like living there. You never really felt like you were “home,” and you didn’t look forward to returning there at the end of the day (which is probably why you spent so much time with your friends).

Now think about a place you really enjoyed living in. Maybe it’s the dream home you have now or a nice apartment that gives you just enough space in the city you love.

How do you feel about this place? You like the space, the warmth—it feels like “home.” And I bet you enjoy … Read the rest

3 Critical Questions Every Sales Manager Must Answer

Monday, February 15th, 2016 - Post by Tom Disantis

I have a quick question for you…

How confident are you that you will hit your revenue target by the end of the year?
100%?
50%?
0%?

When I ask this question of sales leaders, the answers I receive tend to fall somewhere in between 100% and 0%. Obviously, certain failure is not a common response but neither are we completely certain we will succeed.

Which is interesting, because sales leaders spend a lot of time with their sellers talking about their revenue targets. In fact, I think it would be safe to say that we constantly reminding them of their progress against their target when we meet with them. And if they fall behind, we are quick to point this out.

So why then, despite these constant reminders, do we sales managers think our sellers will not help us attain our revenue target? We know where we need to be – we have communicated that expectation to our sellers – and yet, if you think back to the question we started with, very few (if any) sales leaders are 100% confident they will be at their revenue target by the end of the year.

This is even more important … Read the rest

Connecting the Dots: Sales Coaching Leads to Quota

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016 - Post by MichelleVazzana

If you want sales coaching to take root in your organization, it has to align with the real-world priorities of sales managers. So what is the top priority for a sales manager? Hitting the sales numbers is king, of course! When coaching is connected to goals and objectives, sales managers will naturally make it a top priority.

So, as a sales manager, how do you ensure that your training on coaching aligns with what matters most to you? Let’s look at three key skills you need to successfully connect the dots between sales coaching and meeting business objectives.

1) Identify key seller activities that drive results.
Before a sales manager can become an effective coach, he or she needs to become an expert at answering the question, “What should my sellers be doing to meet quota?” Targeted sales activities lead to the accomplishment of stated objectives, which ultimately leads to the attainment of desired business results, yet none of these components are addressed in generic sales coaching models. So the first order of business is for sales managers to learn how to set the right direction for seller effort, which means defining which activities have the most impact on achieving … Read the rest