For years now, sales managers have been held accountable for one thing: generating as much revenue as possible. Other responsibilities like managing profits and margins could be taken care of by other executives because nothing was to interfere with closing deals. However, that is all changing. Aberdeen Research shows that 58 percent of sales organizations say bottom-line management responsibilities are now the norm, with Best-in-Class companies being 40 percent more likely to support this philosophy.
In a rapidly changing sales industry faced with job uncertainty, managers are wise to adapt to this shift if they want not only the best results but to future-proof their own careers and reach the C-Suite. As a result, sales managers need to start thinking beyond just closing deals and making money, and learn how to be better people managers so they have a more accurate picture of how the team is performing.
However, this road is not without its challenges: far fewer manager-rep relationships exist in the same physical location.
According to Aberdeen’s Sales Performance Management research, 43 percent of B2B sellers are now remote or field-based. Couple that with BYOD selling and it’s harder than ever for managers to be involved in the key interaction point: the phone conversation between buyer and seller. The lack of insight into this activity creates a significant barrier to effectively managing and coaching.
How to overcome this challenge
The data analysis tools within sales effectiveness platforms have a very important thing in common: an understanding of how past sales activities have generated specific results. Since, in reality, most teams do not hit their numbers every month, a wise sales manager with C-Suite ambitions will implement a methodology based on the types of activities that are most likely to deliver the desired results. Managing to a proven standard will not only drive your results but will also paint a realistic picture of where you stand against goals and enable more accurate forecasting, which is what the C-Suite wants to see.
To build team-wide success, managers need to leverage these data-driven insights into the activities that sales reps and channel partners conduct every day. Turning this knowledge into coachable moments will contribute toward expanding the pipeline, growing the top line, and moderating the bottom line.
Don’t forget to refine your people skills as well. Reaching a leadership role does not mean there isn’t more to learn; in fact improving yourself only gets more crucial from here on out, especially when it comes to effectively manage people – both employees and clients. Regularly engage with everyone. Listen and learn from them to understand what they are really communicating, through words or actions.
Employers will always value those who have the skill of interacting with other people, so do more of it. The more expertise you can develop in empathy, teamwork, and communication, the more ‘future-proof’ you’ll be.
The Bottom Line
C-Suite positions are held for proven business leaders. Sales VPs with no experience managing revenue and cost columns are unlikely to join the executive table. As a result, companies are starting to hold their sales managers accountable for accurate forecasting. The most efficient way managers can excel in this regard is to dig deeper than the deals closed and tap into sales intelligence data to see how these deals are really being worked. You’ll be able to understand which activities are paying off and which aren’t, enabling you to develop a sustainable method of performance excellence that will catch the attention of the C-Suite.
Sales leaders who manage rep activity and deliver accurate forecasts will not only keep their jobs amidst the rise in sales technology but will rise through the ranks.
More Knowledge: Sales Performance Dashboard Overview