As a Sales Manager this is a phrase that runs through your head daily. You have a number to make. Your sales rep got you into the deal and now you can “get it across the finish line.” Everything you have read about World Class Sales Management tells you differently though. All the books, blog posts (like this one), seminars, webinars, speeches and consultants (like this one) have told you to not do it. “If you give a man a fish you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish you feed him for a lifetime.” Is the old Chinese proverb written by Lao Tzu.
But I have a number to make this week, month, quarter and year. Can’t wait for that stuff? I need to ‘take the deal down now. I will take over for my sales rep and close it.’
Don’t believe ancient Chinese proverbs can relate to Sales Management? Look at some quantitative statistics:
Source: Sales Executive Council
- Sales Managers who coach and develop their sales reps more than 3+hours per month exceed their Team Quota by 107%
- Those Sales Managers who attain more then 2+ customer calls per rep per month have a total team quota attainment of 72%
- SMs who have scheduled one on one meetings at least bi weekly with EACH sales rep on their team:
- Have higher win rates by 37%
- Shorten their sales cycle length over 14%
- Increase the average deal size by 12%
- Every Sales Team that holds a weekly sales meeting (mostly virtual) increases Pipeline to Quota ratio by 1.8x
- One extra hour of coaching per week during the first 8 weeks of a sales representative’s onboarding program shortens the ramp to full productivity by one month.
“Gotta get the deal?”
“Not hitting your quota this year?”
“Time running out?”
(78% of all companies have a fiscal year tied to a calendar year. Most of you are past mid-point this fiscal year)
“Yeah, coaching matters. I get it. But I still have to make my number. How can I coach my sales reps and still get the deal?”
4 Ways Sales Managers Strategize on a Deal (through coaching their sales reps)
- Stick to the Sales Process. Too many times sales managers have a deal strategy session and literally wing it. It’s full of emotion, anecdotal evidence and wishful thinking. I listen in monthly on dozens of these sessions (mostly spontaneous). Rarely does the sales manager follow the sales process. They want the sales rep to set up a meeting with the prospect so they can close the deal. Don’t do it. Pull out (or dust off) the sales process and strictly follow it. Map yourself to the buyer. Coach your sales rep on advancing the sales by having a call objective.
- Be a Parent. For those of you who have kids or was a kid (that’s everybody), you remember when your mom, dad or close relative taught you something. They did not do for themselves but for you. Your parent challenged you by coaching in the moment, teaching you a life lesson. It might have been difficult going through it but you learned a valuable lesson for the next time. Selling a deal for a sales person means you are going to have to sell the next deal for the person again, and again and again.
- Use metrics. Sales Performance Management metrics really help a sales manager coach and develop their people. Close rate, sales cycle length, average deal size, pipeline to quota ratio, selling time allocation, lead to close ratio-they all help with deal strategy. Knowing your sales reps areas of strengths and weaknesses can help coach them in the deal strategy moment of truth.
- Know your role. You are the sales manager. Not the sales rep. Your job is to coach your people to scale and win more deals. Strategizing on a deal is critical to yours and their long term success. Resist the urge to jump into the deal. But hold them accountable to the agreed upon action steps. Get them to advance the sale.
Deal strategy sessions are critical to a Sales Managers success. Whether these are structured or spontaneous, they happen constantly. These are your moments of truth. This is where you earn your stripes as a sales manager. World Class sales managers help sell deals. They help getting the sale. They maximize the compensation plan for their sales people. But they don’t sell the deal for the sales person. Ask Goran Petrovic. He is a sales manager in Austria for a large technology company. Goran constantly has strategy sessions with his sales people. When I observed how he works, Goran told me he had not personally ‘sold’ a deal in over 2 years. And Goran is ranked #2 out of 970 sales managers worldwide. He has mastered the art of coaching his people.