The difference between a good and a bad sales manager is pretty straightforward….. results!
A competent Sales Manager wants, and indeed needs, to know all of the following things:
- what everyone on their team is working on,
- how many opportunities are in the sales funnel,
- at what stage in the sales funnel each opportunity is at (at individual and team level)
- what revenue is projected from the current sales funnel, and
- what does the future look like.
If something looks like it’s starting to go wrong, whether it be a struggling salesperson or an important opportunity stalling, a good sales manager wants to find out fast so they can step in to help.
This visibility is easy to manage with a team of three or four people. But what happens when you scale up to multiple teams or dozens of sales people? You simply can’t rely on weekly one-on-one’s with 20 people!
So how do you maintain control of your data and your pipeline without slowing the growth of your business?
Micromanaging is toxic
A micromanager is the ‘sales handbrake’ of the sales industry. A micromanager is a control freak who needs to be everywhere, all of the time. Instead of selling, his or her sales people spend huge chunks of their day justifying themselves and filling out paperwork that reports on their actions and progress.
In our experience this is all about fear, fear of losing control, so they tighten their grip on whatever they can, whenever they can.
Managers of growing sales teams can’t afford to get stuck for too long in the details of opportunities, sales targets and the activities of individual team members, even though these are critical to sales and revenue success. This approach to sales management slows rather than grows sales success. It also becomes toxic very quickly. Sales people see this approach as a lack of trust in them, so morale dips, staff turnover rates begin to increase and sales targets suddenly become the least of a business’s worries.
So how does a sales manager maintain control of their team without slowing growth?
We see success when our clients combine effective processes and simple, helpful technology to maintain control and deliver consistent results as a business scales. Three things that stand out are:
- Activity based selling
You can’t control outcomes, but you can control your actions. Focus your team on the activities they need to take to deliver optimal results. By incorporating an activity-based-selling philosophy into your sales process, you take the pressure off your sales team by helping them understand exactly what you expect from them.
- Create maximum efficiency and automation in your sales process
You want both you and your people to focus as much time as possible on the highest priority activities. What you do matters and so does how you do it.d more inefficiencies out and re-invest more time on the stuff that actually matters.
- Track and measure performance
Sustainable success in any business demands a repeatable process that can be measured, tracked and analysed against performance expectations. Sales Managers are no different and they need to monitor performance to find what’s working and pinpoint problems as soon as possible.
The bottom line is that you need a CRM system that can do all of the above.
As a business grows and scales it is managing your data (not micromanaging your team) that leads to success.
Lean on your scalable sales process and use the technology available in your CRM to give you control over the information you and your team need. It is not that micromanagement is never a strategy to drive behaviour but rather that it needs to be applied very selectively. When your data tells you that a specific problem is developing or exists that is the time to dive in a manage the issue. The Sales Micromanagement approach is a recipe for failure that we see over and over.