I loved being a sales manager. Not only did I enjoy staffing teams and training them but also it gave me a great opportunity to think strategically about how I attacked my region. My people responded well to my coaching and my commitment to them became a commitment to their number. I should also mention that when I was a Sales Manager the laptop that I was using needed a full lap to operate it. But I digress.
But the sales process has gotten so complex for sales organizations today. Their solutions are more complex, more selling team resources touch an opportunity than ever before, and the list of buying stakeholders has increased four fold. The job is tougher today as a result and sales managers are spending more time in front of their PC than coaching winning selling behaviors.
The solution is to split the job. Selling teams should have a sales coach and a sales operations director.
Let me start with the sales operations director role. This role would mine the CRM system for leads, track activity, translate what shipment reports are saying and make coverage and contact recommendations to the team. They would ride heard over RFP teams and help produce PowerPoint presentations and other sales tools. This role would still have contact with the team – they would not be just a sales admin department.
The sales coach would be a thinking partner for their reps – someone who could analyze an opportunity and provide feedback and coaching on how to advance it. A common complaint among salespeople is they lack face time with their sales managers and when they do get it, they rarely receive undivided attention. And often what they hear is more punitive then constructive. Sorry for the gross generalizations but this is what our clients are telling us.
When you split the job, you satisfy the ops piece, and the production piece. You also create greater advancement opportunity for those who want to go into sales management, but may be better at the quant and tech, vs. the coaching role. No organization wants to add additional headcount that doesn't produce, but I’m seeing great leverage in these two roles in the era of Value Creation and enterprise-wide solution selling. More is more in this case.
For more insights or to structure the right sales management team for your organization, contact Bill Walton at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill Walton Sales Training has over 60 years of collective Fortune 500 company experience in Sales, Sales Training and Field Sales Management. Our specialty is preparing individuals and organizations to present their value propositions in a way that results in higher close ratios. Our team are un-blurring the lines of differentiation between their client's fiercest competitors.