Front Line Sales Managers act as gatekeepers for the sales strategy. They reinforce daily rep behavior. If they do not, performance will be inconsistent from team to team. How can you ensure they are following the leadership playbook with their teams?
You just rolled out the next sales strategy at sales kickoff. Everyone is excited. How do you keep alignment as the year progresses? Sales people tend to become opportunistic as quota pressure mounts.
If each Sales Managers tries to do it their way, results will be inconsistent. You will have activities being performed that don’t align to the sales strategy. Consequently, effort will be wasted and rep productivity will suffer. Sales manager playbooks solve this problem by providing clear and consistent direction. But many times, tactical requirements get in the way as time passes.
3 Keys to Keep Sales Management Aligned to the Sales Strategy:
Sales Manager goals should align with sales strategy and rep goals. Metric alignment ensures everyone is rowing in the same direction. Metrics should cascade from corporate to sales strategy through every role. This alignment is key to ensuring behaviors lead to goal attainment. Beyond just measuring the right things, they have to be made visual with dashboards. Measure the right things, make them visible, and review often.
Sales Manager Cadence
Sales leaders should have a cadence. The front line sales manager role can be chaotic and reactive. Without a clear cadence that prioritizes key activities, urgency will take over. A cadence will get your leaders in a rhythm. Key activities will take priority and as a coach you can ensure the cadence is followed. What types of activities should take priority? It will depend on your sales strategy, but here are a few common examples.
- Sourcing – finding and nurturing a virtual bench of A players
- Hiring – only hiring people better than your best
- Coaching – turning your team in experts
- Field Observation – observing reps executing at the moment of truth
- Pipeline reviews and forecasting – advancing deals and keeping data clean
- Training – teaching the teach what to do effectively
Multi Touch Coaching
Defining a playbook and training to it is a great start. You can drive compliance to the sales strategy by doing this. But what you really want is best in class execution of the strategy. To get from beginner to expert in executing the playbook, intense coaching is required. As a leader of leaders, how do you provide coaching? It can’t just be a structured call. Coaching has to be constant and frequent. Here are some examples….
- 1 on 1 meetings – this are set calls with a determine frequency and agenda. 1 on 1s provides a protected environment for leaders to discuss a variety of topics.
- In the moment coaching – discuss upcoming events before they happen. Discuss how the sales leader will handle the event.
- Situational coaching – discuss situations that already took place. Coaching to a real situation makes the conversation come to life vs. hypothetical coaching.
- Coach to process – when a new process or initiative is rolled out, ongoing coaching is required. If the leader is not an expert on it, the team will not follow.
Call to Action
The sales strategy lives or dies based sales manager reinforcement. Download the SBI Podcast to learn how your peers plan to approach Q1. It will provide ideas on how sales managers can get initiatives adopted. The playbook will get average sales managers to produce above average results.