Sales managers, let’s be honest… it’s hard to watch a salesperson that seems to be flailing in shallow water when they are on a prospect or client call. However, if you take a step back, you realize they are probably going to find their feet and be able to stand up and be fine. Recently, I attended one of The Center for Sales Strategy’s Talent Focused Management workshops led by Matt Sunshine (Managing Partner), and I walked away with a few reminders.
Often times, sales managers might find themselves swamped with work because their calendar is booked with sales calls with their team, but in actuality, do they need to be on all of those calls? If your calendar is booked with calls, it could mean a few things including, you’re doing most of the work for your salespeople, you don’t have confidence in your team, your team doesn’t have confidence in themselves, your team might need more training or resources, etc. There are many reasons that a sales manager might have a full calendar. It’s not always bad, but it’s time for sales managers to take back their days and be strategic with the sales calls they are committing to.
If you’ve set your team up for success by providing adequate training, resources, and coaching, then it’s time to take a step back and let all of that hard work play out.
Below are six reasons we think sales managers should be on calls. Other than these, trust that your team is equipped to do what they do best: SELL!
When coaching your sales team, there are obviously times that you need to be the example before you turn it over to a new salesperson. This could be a demonstration on best practices or skills, or this could be a demo of a new product or service. Either way, in this case, you are there to set the standard and the example to your team. This should only need to be done a few times.
There are situations when both the seller and the manager play an important role in closing a sale, and there could be calls that require both the seller and the manager to be present and ready to take action. For example, the seller might be there to explain the capabilities and the big idea being presented, and the manager could be needed to dive into the fine details and respond to high-level questions. When both the salesperson and the manager are involved, it should be established before entering into the meeting, so expectations and clarity are set amongst the team.
Just like Superman swoops in to save the day, there are times when a sales manager must do just that. Typically, this is when the deal is very big or very important and one that they can not afford to lose. If a sales manager believes that a deal might be headed downhill, rather than using it as a learning opportunity, the sales manager steps in and saves the day (by saving the sale). While playing the role of Superman might save the sale it’s not something you want to do all the time… after all you are working hard to grow and develop the salespeople you work with.
4. Thank You
It’s good to show face to your clients, and often times clients seeing the managers of their accounts is a simple way to say ‘thank you.’ An occasional attendance on a sales call just to say ‘thank you’ can show your clients you are present and always there if they need something, and help to strengthen the foundation of the relationship that’s already been built.
5. Angry Client
If we’re being honest (and we are), you know there are times that you might have an angry client. How do you deal with it? A visit from the sales manager can help ease the issue (if handled correctly) and add value to the relationship at a time when it’s on the rocks.
Everyone has room for improvement. No matter if your salespeople are rookies or veterans, we can all improve, and we all need help improving. Shadowing a call for coaching purposes can help you not only pinpoint any issues and coach someone back to success, but it can also help you provide productive and functional feedback that helps your team improve. It’s important when you’re on calls with your team that you continue to let them be the lead, and if something gets directed at you, direct it back to your salesperson showing you have confidence in their skill and knowledge, which also shows the client or prospect the trust you place in your team.
The coaching call (or infield coaching) is one of the most important, yet overlooked, things a manager can do to grow and develop their sellers. Investing time in your highly-talented salespeople will pay back a tremendous return.
Sales managers, stop filling your calendar with unnecessary sales calls. Take back your day by limiting the calls you commit to with your team by ensuring the only calls you commit to are productive, functional, and effective. If a call doesn’t fit within this list, take a step back and trust that your team is equipped and ready to close.