Underperforming sales reps turn their sales manager into a nanny, nag, or worse still, a narc. Top sales reps know how to leverage their sales manager to make them even more effective.
If you are one of those sales reps who is constantly making excuses for failing to meet quota, while you secretly know that it is really your fault, then you may as well stop reading now. This post is for sales reps who are not afraid to get an honest appraisal of their activity and an outside opinion on the opportunities in their pipeline.
While there are certainly sales managers who don’t know how to empower their top performers, and others who seem to enjoy playing the role of “tough guy” most of the time, it is safe to say that most successful sales managers would prefer to empower rather than discipline. In fact, they make it their mission to develop their team so that is how they spend most of their time.
If you dread one-on-one meetings with your sales manager, you need to take a hard look at that. Ask yourself is it because you have something to hide, or principally because you have an ineffective sales manager? Be honest. You are only kidding yourself.
If it is the former, then get your act together (or get out of sales). If it is the latter, then you have some difficult decisions to make. That, however, will be the subject of another post.
For now, let’s assume you’re doing your part and your manager is committed to empowering you. Starting from that place, it’s easy to see why you would be grateful for your sales manager.
Many sales professionals especially dread one-on-one reviews with their sales manager. This is a mistake. Lets look at the 3 primary reasons sales people resist close scrutiny of their activity and pipeline:
a) They are naturally insecure and often second-guess themselves. There are some people that despite having strong activity and a stellar pipeline, always feel like an imposter that will be “found out.” These people will be relieved to know their manager is pleased with their performance.
b) They are hiding the fact that their activity is low and their pipeline is filled with junk. It’s no surprise these people dread meetings with their manager. However, they should really be grateful too. Either they will get their act together or they will go find a job they can succeed at.
c) They think they don’t need help, so meeting with their manager is just a waste of time. These are the most difficult cases. They usually perform above average, which makes it is hard to criticize them. Unfortunately, they could be even better if only they welcomed their manager’s input.
The weekly one-on-one with your sales manager gives you an outside perspective to objectively assess exactly where each opportunity is in the sales process. You can step back and ask the important questions.
Are they truly engaged with the decision maker? Does the customer accept the ROI your solution can provide? Do you have an agreed upon next step and a date for it’s completion? Are they behaving like someone who is about to make a purchase decision?
When complete, you and your manager know what the next step will be for each opportunity, and who will do what by when. Not only will this give you a greater sense of control – it will increase your income.
If you are a skilled sales person who will make good use of your time by finding new prospects and advancing existing ones, then your sales manager is an incredible resource that can be leveraged for your mutual success.
You see, successful sales managers want their top reps out selling new business – not doing “administrivia” (i.e. data entry, paperwork, operations, and service issues). That’s why they will encourage their top reps during their weekly review (and any other time for that matter) to offload those administrative tasks onto them.
They may not always handle it themselves, but _they will always make sure it gets handled_.
A manager serving a sale rep does more than free you up to sell more. It also deepens the trust and loyalty in the selling partnership between you and your manager, which also has a profound effect on your productivity and job satisfaction. This will be apparent to prospective customers, who will be compelled to want to do business with you.
Who do you think your sales manager is going to give the best leads to? The sales person who dodges their weekly review and makes poor use of their time, or the one who is always prepared and honest in their weekly your account reviews, and delegated non-selling tasks to enable them to sell even more?
Obviously, the sales manager is going to give the best leads to a sales person they trust can handle them well.
Trust is interesting. You may think the manager trusts the second sales rep described above, simply because they are doing what they have been asked to do – weekly account reviews and effective delegation.
However, that is not the entire story. _The sales manager trusts this sales rep because the sales rep trusts the manager_.
When the sales rep trusts their sales manager enough to invite their scrutiny in weekly meetings, and then lets them handle the many tasks, that while administrative, are still critical to their winning the sale, it tells that manager that the sales rep trusts them.
When there is mutual trust between you and your manager, your manager is going to give you the most valuable opportunities. What’s not to love about that?