Categories Articles, Sales and Marketing

There are some sales management faux pas that, if your CEO ever witnesses them, should give him or her considerable pause and really damper their confidence in your sales management skills. Sales managers? Don’t EVER let your CEO – or anyone else, for that matter – hear you utter any of the following:

Yeah sure, that forecast looks good.

- Bad Sales Managers

Great sales managers never accept numbers at face value, and forecasts are no exception. Before making decisions based on a forecast or presenting it to your CEO, analyze the opportunities in your sales forecast and determine whether each of them belongs in there. Is there an opportunity forecasted to close next month that is was created only a few days before the end of this month? If your average sales cycle for Closed-Won opportunities is 30 days, chances are this one is too young to close in the next month. Assess larger-than-average-sized deals that might skew the value forecast as well – make sure they are likely to close in the forecasted time period before confirming it belongs in there.

I’m not really sure who my target market is.

- Bad Sales Managers

Marketers aren’t the only ones who need to know their target market – the best sales managers have a deep understanding of their buyers. It helps them devise the right messaging for their reps to guide their prospects through the buying process. Make sure to implement a formal and defined sales process that is matched up to buying stages, rather than their reps’ selling stages, and train your reps on this process.

What’s a sales process?

- Bad Sales Managers

CSO Insights published a recent survey that shows that companies with a formal sales process – one that is defined and regularly reviewed – perform significantly better than those with ad hoc or informal sales processes. A sales process includes standardized messaging, a framework for conversations, and sales metrics available to every member of the sales team. Make sure the process is written down and is well-known by everyone too. Crystal clear sales processes help sales managers identify and fix weaknesses much faster.

Marketing has nothing to do with me.

- Bad Sales Managers

Companies that don’t embrace sales and marketing alignment suffer consequences down the road. On the sales side, digging in to market metrics will provide clarity into which sources generate the highest-scored marketing-qualified leads (MQLs). Once you understand what the best MQLs are, you can coach your reps to focus on the leads with the highest probability of conversion rates.

Our reps can train themselves.

- Bad Sales Managers

Not if you want a high performance sales team. Sales managers should be looking at sales performance metrics on both a team and an individual level so they can determine where weaknesses are in the sales process. Make sure you have a system for coaching your reps involving routine evaluations of their pipelines and riskiest opportunities, studying their sales funnels, and weekly one-on-one meetings.

I don’t need to look at lost reasons.

- Bad Sales Managers

Conducting a win/loss analysis by looking at lost reasons will give you actionable insights to better guide your sales team. Lost reason possibilities include need, timing, price, competition, feature, authority, and poor qualification. Go ahead and rank your company’s lost reasons in descending order, starting with those that occur most often. If one or two of them stand out as causing the most lost deals, it is your job to figure out why and how to fix it.

We don’t ‘do’ data transparency.

- Bad Sales Managers

High performance sales teams led by talented sales managers have nothing to hide. Open data policies are actually really good for business. Free access to individual sales performance metrics gives reps an idea of how they are doing compared to their colleagues, it holds them accountable for their effort and quality of work, and it builds their trust in the compensation and reward system. Start by using a sales leaderboard that displays the monthly bookings of all your reps to keep them on the ball and encourage friendly competition.

Meh, I don’t believe in sales playbooks.

- Bad Sales Managers

Big mistake! A sales playbook is a sales training guide for new hires. As your company grows, you and your colleagues will figure out what works and what doesn’t. Compiling this data into a sales playbook shortens ramp-up time for new reps and ensures that every sales rep is working under the same standards and expectations. A sales playbook is not a substitute for training – it is a tool reps can use as a resource and reference to their training.

I’ll scrape something together for the Quarterly Business Review.

- Bad Sales Managers

The last thing you want to be at a QBR is under-prepared. Sales VPs use QBRs to help their company’s executives review performance from the previous quarter and use these insights to adjust goals for the next quarter. You as a sales manager should be involved in the preparation for this meeting. QBRs are a great opportunity to better prioritize your goals, improve intra-team and intra-company communication, and improve your team’s process and performance. To prepare successfully, a sales manager should understand his or her sales department’s overarching strategy – how many reps to have, what time of prospects to pursue, which deals to focus on – and align them with the overall company objectives.

Recommended Posts

Leave a Comment

Start typing and press Enter to search