In fact, world leading economists have very little to say about the impact of good sales management. John van Reenan, director of the Centre for Economic Policy at the London School of Economics decided to really figure out if a good manager makes a difference. He and his colleagues recruited MBA students to call sales and middle managers to discuss a ‘business topic’ with them. With 8,000 interviews already performed, his team learned some interesting insights:
- The quality of the Sales Management has a direct correlation to the Sales Reps’ productivity measured in increased Win Rates and decreased Sales Cycle Length
- Given the same tools and processes, superior managers can have their direct reporting sales reps sell in a day what some sell in a month
- The average quality of a sales manager is not determined by the best firms, but the worst. The best companies attract very few poor sales managers
- Local culture plays a role in the success of a sales manager. Great sales managers adapt to the local culture of the area and its customers
Ok. So how do I make sure we have great sales managers?
Below are three ways to ensure your firm has superior leaders:
1. Have a world class talent management program. This does not mean I hire them well. Talent management starts with how you source candidates, interview, hire, on board and develop them. Can’t source well? Don’t have a robust onboarding or development program for your sales managers? Spend the time and energy developing one. A one year investment into a sales manager talent management program can result in a double digit revenue lift and turnover reduction that will pay for itself.
2. Spend time with your sales manager. Coach and develop your sales manager in great leadership. Don’t squander the talent. Go on customer calls; meet for a one on one weekly; get to know their family and what matters to them. The best time investment is the one spent with your people.
3. Establish Sales Management Performance Metrics. Don’t just monitor the sales reps. Pay attention to the sales management metrics. KPI’s such as sales rep ramp to productivity, forecast accuracy, customer interactions to closed sales ratio; pipeline to quota ratio, open selling weeks etc. These KPI’s will allow everyone to understand their goals and how they will be measured. “If you can measure it, you can manage it”
Companies such as Safety Kleen, Kronos, Caliber Collisions and Lavi Industries have increased revenue and decreased turnover due to superior sales management. Individuals such as Steve McKenzie, Bryan Catello and Todd Daubenberger have made a significant difference at their organizations. Their sales leaders made sure the sales management talent management system was robust, spent time with them weekly and measured them against benchmarked world class sales management metrics. Check out Keith Rosen, an expert at coaching sales people by sales managers.