By Tibor Shanto – firstname.lastname@example.org
Probably the most important role in a sales organizations ability to ensure successful and consistent execution of their sales process is the front line sales manager. They are the ones that distill the central message down to the local team. They are the ones who ensure that the discipline and the measures that are required to succeed are implemented, adhered to and improved, both in day to day interactions with their team members, and in their design and delivery of the individual sales reps’ annual coaching plan. They are the ones who hold the individuals on their teams accountable for their activities, SOP’s, and the delivery of revenues/clients. No one in the organization is in a greater position to enable their team members to succeed.
The question then becomes, what are they enabling. As with parenting, enabling involves more than just providing, you need to be actively involved, you need to be actively setting the example. By this I don’t mean showing your people how to sell, but setting the example by adhering to the process yourself. How do we expect sales people to do all the things they need to do to succeed, including the mundane and trivial activities, if we don’t do ours as managers, if the manager can take shortcuts or deviate from the process, well why not the rep.
Many parents enable their kids by looking the other way when they find them doing things that could be negative or harmful, as o many sales managers. Some rationalize things by pointing to the fact that the rep is good, delivers the numbers, they don’t want to interfere. Unless you feel that your company’s processes are bogus, you could be missing a great opportunity for that same rep to improve, deliver more, or deliver their current success with less effort or time. By looking the other way you are letting the rep down and your team.
If you have reps who are not always delivering, the 80%-90% of goal reps, and they see that you are letting some people pick and choose, you are asking for more issues. One is that you don’t really care what they do or how they do, basically they are on their own till the end of month/quarter tally. In this vacuum of leadership and lack of support, two things happen; first, absent the manager’s involvement, they look around to see who is succeeding, and do what those successful sellers do; and as discussed above, they are not following the proven process, so they conclude that they don’t need to either, but since they lack the god given skill, they are doomed to stay where they are or even regress after a time. Second, these 80%-90% players looking to improve become great recruiting targets, often for no other reason than the opportunity to be coached, supported and enabled to be 100%+ players, something you can enable them to do here and now, just by getting active and involved.
Enabling takes planning, action, work, and accountability. Like many parents you can say that you enable your kids by letting them make their own choices, and deal with the outcome. Or you can actively engage, set parameters, expectations and an example, and in the process enable them to succeed, rather than enabling them to no succeed; both are enabled.
What’s in Your Pipeline