Before I tell you how a sales manager increases sales, let me first define what I mean by a sales manager.
No matter their actual title, sales managers are anyone who has salespeople reporting them. Some people may have the title, sales manager, but if they don’t have salespersons reporting to them, I am not speaking about them.
So with this definition in mind, a sales manager’s responsibility is to grow sales. They don’t do this directly, but through their people. They must find a way to leverage their skills and knowledge to help the salespersons under them do a better job. They will accomplish this through a few different functions. They must:
- Define the sales process
- Hold all the sales persons accountable, and
- Mentor the members of the sales team
Everyone on a sales manager’s team must know what the sales process is. Whether there are five steps, seven steps, or nine, everyone on the team must know these steps.
They must use the same terminology to label them and have the same goal or outcome in mind for those steps. To use a sports metaphor, the sales manager must ensure that everyone on the team is using the same playbook.
The Sales Manager Holds People Accountable
Sales managers must also hold everyone accountable. By accountability, I mean accountability to activity. Whether it’s X amount of cold calls, or X amount of appointments, or X amount of proposals, most companies have some sort of activity quota to which the salespersons are held.
A sales manager must monitor those numbers and ensure they are happening. If he or she waits until the end of the month, it’s too late. You can’t do anything about it at the end of the month. Either you hit your numbers or you’ve missed them.
The sales manager must check the numbers throughout the month and motivate anyone falling behind. Monitoring activity is like a gas gauge. When it gets close to “E,” you have to pull over and get some gas or you won’t get where you are going.
In addition to accountability to activity, the sales manager must hold his people accountable to the process.
He must ensure that everyone is following the process and no one is skipping steps or not following through.
The Sales Manager as a Mentor
Finally, a sales manager has a responsibility to mentor, coach, and develop the people on their team. Sometimes the manager may lead by example and other times, they may observe, then coach and develop the team. The sales manager’s job is to grow his people.
So a sales manager must define the process clearly, monitor the activity and adherence to the process, and mentor, coach, and develop the sales force. If they stick to these fundamentals, they will see sales increase and the sales organization will produce more.