In sales Management

David Brock, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist Podcast How do you become effective as a sales manager (especially when you’re in this new role)?

Boy! A survival guide could surely come in handy so you would know the things to avoid and the things you should improve on.

Today’s guest is David Brock who’s going to give us an overview of his book, Sales Manager Survival Guide: Lessons from Sales’ Front Lines, which is designed to help sales managers best guide their team, help their team members become more successful, maintain the business side of things and still have fun, and help them lead their former peers.

David runs a number of businesses including Partners in EXCELLENCE. This is a boutique consulting company where they work with different companies to help them get to the next level of performance in terms of company growth or expanding customer reach.

Here are the highlights of my conversation with David:

David’s coolest sales experience when he was the customer.

Why another book on sales management:

  • Front line sales managers are one of the most important jobs in selling, yet they are least understood where there is least investment in developing people.
  • Not too many resources for sales managers.
  • This book is focused on front line sales managers and how they can maximize the performance of each individual in their team and their team as a whole.

Key challenges of several front line sales managers:

  1. Lack of knowledge about their job

Sales managers just don’t know what their job is and they don’t know how to do it as effectively as they should. Being a top-performing sales rep doesn’t always equate to being a great sales manager.

  1. Not moving fast as a sales manager

Your job is to change things and maximize the performance of your people but not until you figure out who they are, what they’re doing, and what you need to be changing. Otherwise, this could be wasteful or harmful action.

How to get started as a sales manager:

  1. Figure out who your people are.

Spend time with your people. Get to know who they are and what their jobs are. Understand where they’re performing and where are the opportunities to improve their performance. Figure out who your customers are.

  1. Figure out how things get done in the organization.

Find out what’s going wrong. Then drive the change. Figure out the 2-3 things you need to do to start improving performance.

How to identify the right processes:

  1. Have a current sales process.

Your process must be able to move the customer through their buying cycle and help them reach a decision. Make sure your people are using your process.

  1. Figure out the roadblocks.

Identify the things that are standing in the way of your team’s performance (ex. training, tools, business processes, etc.)

  1. Understand the core processes, core tools, and skills development areas you can leverage to improve their effectiveness and efficiency.

Key metrics to focus on:

  • Determining the smallest set of metrics that determine people are on track
  • Walking backwards and identifying what drives revenue and quota performance
  • Critical leading metrics and call metrics
  • Identifying critical activities that drive revenue
  • Tracking goals every week

Strategies for leading your former peers:

  • Be very clear about the expectations and boundaries.
  • Recognize the difference in between these roles.
  • Recognize that you may have to have tough conversations with your best friends.

Strategies for sales coaching as a new leader:

  • Embed coaching into each of your conversations.

Coaching is not just an evaluation but it should be embedded in your daily activities. Help people figure out for themselves how to be better at a particular area.

  • Take formal training on coaching to really understand how to effectively coach.
  • Spend at least 50% of your time coaching your people.

Business management tips for new sales leaders:

  • Understand the business strategy.
  • Translate the company’s business strategy into the activities salespeople do on a day-to-do basis.
  • Get things done through your people.

Make sure they understand:

  • Their job
  • Their performance criteria
  • What they expect
  1. Work with your people on a day-to-day basis

David’s Major Takeaway:

The front line sales manager role is one of the most rewarding jobs as well as one of the most challenging jobs. Recognize the importance of your contribution to the organization and your role in shaping great young salespeople in moving them forward. Take great joy in seeing people develop and seeing people accomplish things.

Episode Resources:

Sales Manager Survival Guide by David Brock

Connect with David Brock on LinkedIn and Twitter @davidabrock.

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