How do most sales managers get placed in their roles? At many sales organizations, their very successful salespeople simply get promoted into leading a team. But those new managers often struggle because they lack the skills to go from being an individual contributor to a manager in charge of a whole team. And the performance of the whole team suffers as a result.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. With an effective sales management training program, you can help your sales managers become highly effective leaders of their salespeople. And even prepare them to become incredible sales leaders someday.
What is Sales Management Training?
Sales management training programs help your sales managers grow into effective leaders and managers of their teams. Many managers are unprepared for aspects of management, such as:
- How to lead a sales team
- How to coach sales reps
- And how to improve sales results
Building more effective sales managers is essential to your sales team’s success. Sales management training is a formal and thoughtful way to do that. It’s different than sales training because it covers the specific skills managers need to lead a high-performing sales team instead of just all-around sales skills.
Why You Need Sales Management Training
Sales managers are responsible for some of the most important tasks in your sales organization. Their job is to build, lead, and manage a team of sales reps. That means one manager’s performance affects a whole team of your salespeople. A single poor manager can significantly drag down your team’s performance and your company’s revenue.
But despite how important sales managers are to your organization’s success, too many sales managers are unprepared for their roles. They are often top sales performers who are promoted because they’re highly skilled at selling, and a management role is the logical next step. But these kinds of promotions without preparation can mean that your management team is full of people who are great at selling and not so great at managing salespeople – which is now their job.
Sometimes it’s your promotion process to blame for getting poor managers in their roles. But even people with the potential to be truly great sales managers won’t be set up for success if you place them in their new role without any training. The transition from salesperson to manager isn’t easy – but sales management training helps smooth the way.
And even if you hire a proven sales manager from the outside, he or she doesn’t know how your company sells, what sales process is used and what the meaningful metrics are for your business without a good onboarding process and a solid training approach.
Why You Might Not Have a Sales Management Training Program
Many businesses don’t have a sales management training program in place for two reasons.
First, some sales leaders simply don’t believe the transition from salesperson to sales manager should be all that challenging. After all, the new manager was just a salesperson – won’t they understand instinctively how to manage someone in that same role?
Second, sales management training is an expense some companies don’t want to bear. Especially if they don’t have many sales manager vacancies in a year.
But failing to develop your sales managers means your company is probably losing out on significant-effectiveness gains for a fairly low cost. Since having better sales managers means better results for your whole sales team, creating a sales management training program can have a significant return on investment for your business.
How to Start a Sales Management Training Program
Start with a Better Onboarding Process
When your managers are brand-new to their role, you have a valuable opportunity to start them off on the right foot by creating a thoughtful onboarding process.
New managers typically don’t know how to take on the critical competencies of the role. Your onboarding process should walk them through the basics, but tailored to your particular business. These include:
- How to lead a team in your market
- How to handle coaching conversations with reps
- And how to communicate your sales process and playbook effectively.
Provide Mentoring Opportunities
How much time is your sales leadership team expected to devote to mentoring and coaching first-line managers? This key task might not be getting the attention it deserves. Providing formal guidelines and setting clear expectations for sales management mentoring can help your new managers have clear examples of what good leadership looks like. It also provides them with the opportunity to learn from experienced managers and leaders.
Let Them Learn from Peers
Experienced managers have a wealth of skills and knowledge to pass onto their newer peers. So, developing a program to help this happen can be very effective. New managers can get advice and guidance from their more experienced peers about best practices for managing specific job skills and handling many of the job’s challenges.
In smaller companies, that “peer” may be the CEO or someone else who has grown up in the business and knows how to sell what you offer.
Peer mentoring programs also allow the mentors themselves to grow in their management skills by giving them leadership experience and increasing their confidence and motivation. This is a great way to develop stronger up-and-coming sales leadership for the future.
Bring in the Experts
Providing training for your sales managers can be a complex task, especially if you’re starting your program from scratch. You can bridge the gap by using outside sales training resources and learning materials so managers can learn new skills independently. Or you can try the trial-and-error method – try some things and see what works and what fails.
But since sales management is such a vital part of your company’s overall sales performance, you’ll see the best results from bringing in experts to help you create your own program. Getting strategic input on developing sales training and resources for your managers will help your sales team grow better together.
360 Consulting Can Help You Create a Winning Sales Management Team
We are here to help businesses in all industries. From small companies to complex mid-sized enterprises, we can help you create the most effective and inspirational sales managers. Creating a winning sales management team will accelerate your sales performance and keep your whole sales organization a step ahead of the competition.
Are you ready to help your management team train for success and meet and exceed their sales goals? Schedule your free business consultation today to learn more about how we can help you get there.