It’s becoming a more constant refrain from senior sales leaders – we’re focusing our time and efforts on our managers. It’s not the current front line sales managers are necessarily bad; it seems we’ve just ignored them a bit. A host of reasons seem to be driving that refrain – competing priorities such as changing go-to-market models, implementation of CRM systems, and sales rep training. This has led us at the SEC to more frequently share our past research on sales manager effectiveness. So if 2013 is the year you are naming the Year of the Manager, what do you need to know?
In studying sales manager effectiveness, we found some critical and downright interesting things.
- First, was that a little over a quarter (26.6% to be exact) of sales manager effectiveness is driven by those management “fundamentals” required for any leadership position in any organization. These are things like integrity, honesty, and credibility.
- The remaining 73.4% is driven by specific sales management attributes, well, what are those? There’s three key attributes:
- Selling – You’re probably not surprised to see this one, the best managers succeed in selling direct to customers and have conversations in which they Teach, Tailor, and Take Control (Sound familiar? It should, because those are Challenger Rep behaviors).
- Coaching – Another one I’m betting you didn’t find all that surprising. The best managers are the best coaches. The data tells us that coaching is more important than the manager’s ability to sell.
- Owning – This is the manager taking ownership of their business; it comprises of two pieces – Resource Allocation (items such as sales process adherence and report management) and Sales Innovation (generating new, innovative ways to solve deal problems). Here’s where a critical finding comes into play – it’s this Sales Innovation that is the greatest driver of sales manager effectiveness. Twice more than resource allocation and more than both a manager’s ability to sell and coach.
So if 2013 is the Year of the Manager for you, we need to focus our efforts on helping managers better sell, coach, and most importantly, drive deal-level sales innovation. Sales innovation requires that managers collaborate with their sales reps to investigate the opportunity and customer, to define, create, and explore new ways to position an offer, and then share best practices with other managers.
SEC Members, to learn more, review the full study findings and listen to the webinar replay. Also, download SEC’s Ideation Toolkit and Investigative Questioning Toolkit to help drive sales manager innovation in your organization.