The problem with many sales managers is that they aren’t expected to get on the phone and sell.  And the problem with that is how can they teach and coach something they aren’t doing themselves (or worse, that they can’t do)?


Does Your Manager Sell?
I consult with a lot of business owners, and I hear a common complaint: “The sales team isn’t making their revenue numbers and my sales manager doesn’t seem to know what to do to get them to improve.  What should I do?”
After reviewing their sales processes, their training program, sales scripts, etc., I always ask the same question: “How much production is your sales manager generating per month?”  And I almost always get the same answer – “My manager doesn’t sell.”
That’s not good.
The problem with many sales managers is that they aren’t expected to get on the phone and sell.  And the problem with that is how can they teach and coach something they aren’t doing themselves (or worse, that they can’t do)?
Now I know there are differing opinions on this – some say managers need to manage from the sidelines (like coaches), need to be involved in higher level responsibilities, need to attend endless meetings, and need to be able to set revenue goals and get their team to achieve them.
I agree with some of this (except the endless meetings part!), but the most effective and respected sales managers and V. P.’s I work with all lead by example.  They have a personal quota and they keep their skills sharp and refined because they are on the phones closing prospects and clients every day.
Because of this, they have a real understanding of what it takes to get the job done, and so they are in the best position to teach this to others.
Here are the top 5 benefits of having a selling sales manager:
1) Sales managers who actively sell have an up to date, intimate understanding of what techniques, skills and strategies work in your selling environment.  And having this first-hand knowledge means they can teach it to others.
2) Because a selling sales manager has this immediate experience of closing sales, they are in a much better position to help their team members close business as well.  They can easily do a TO (take over) when a sales rep needs help.  This not only teaches the rep how to handle selling situations, but it often saves a sale as well.  This is what your sales manager must be able to do, and it is a crucial part of their job.
3) A selling sales manager commands the immediate respect and confidence of his/her sales team.  A sales manager is a leader of his team, and the best way to lead is by example.  Sales reps respect and follow a leader who can help them close sales and achieve their goals.  They’ll also work harder for them.
4) A confident sales manager grows a confident and productive team.  Nothing is better for a sales manager than to have him/her demonstrate, to themselves and others that they have what it takes to successfully close sales.  A successful selling manager isn’t afraid of setting production goals because he knows he can achieve them (and he knows what it’s going to take).
5) As a business owner, you must have the confidence that your manager knows exactly how to accomplish your company’s revenue goals.  The most accurate way to determine this is by having the sure knowledge that he knows how to do it himself.  This experience is invaluable and will ensure that the goals you set are reasonable and reachable.
A common problem I run across when working with companies is an unreachable, unrealistic revenue goal set by the owner that has no real buy in by the sales manager.  It is this disconnect that causes friction, undermines morale, and often leads to unmotivated, underperforming sales teams (and managers).
All this can be avoided when you have an experienced, hands on, selling sales manager who can give you honest and accurate feedback about production goals and the ways to achieve them.
There are other benefits of having a selling sales manager leading your team, but I hope this short list has convinced you.  Believe me, the fastest way to make your sales manager better is to make sure they are on the phones closing business part of their day.

About the author

Mike Brooks

Mike Brooks is the founder of Mr. Inside Sales, a North Carolina based inside…

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