Every learning and development professional dreams of leading a high performance sales team. If that’s you, consider whether you’ve made the right investment to make it happen.

  • TrainingIndustry.com research shows that “aggregate metrics for sales effectiveness have failed to reach pre-2000 levels at any point in the last decade.
  • And 54% of sales reps won’t meet quota this year according to global research and advisory firm SiriusDecisions.

What are you doing to address that?

I’ve written before about why coaching sales managers should be a top priority.

Improving the quality of training management receives is an opportunity for L & D professionals who want to boost the performance of their sales team.

The best part is, sales management training — a high-leverage, high-impact training investment — is the #1 way to improve the performance of your sales team.

Now that so much of the sales process is in the buyer’s control, it’s just a matter of time before process matters much more than product, and before effective sales managers are forced to adapt. For example, Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing Inc. said, “To drive higher sales productivity and conversion rates, sales leaders need to focus on discipline and process. Fundamentally, this literally comes down to...management.” The organizations who drive up sales manager effectiveness will succeed — and other companies will continue to struggle.

If you want to help sales reps meet quota and the company make more revenue, sales management training can help solve your problems.

Read the rest of this blog series for tactical, practical, actionable information you can use.

So, what do you do first?

Does your sales force have a weak link?

If you want more results from your training events, you need to find your the ‘weak link' in your sales organization!

Do you know who it is?

When Jill Konrath was speaking with Ken Thoreson, author of Slammed!!! For the first time sales manager, Ken observed that "first line sales managers are the ‘weak link” in most organizations."

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It’s true that many sales managers aren’t equipped to do their job properly.

When leadership hires or promotes them to sales manager, often it’s just assumed they know what to do. But that shouldn’t be left to chance. Can you imagine an airline promoting a successful gate agent to pilot without teaching him how to fly an airplane?

Today’s sales managers have a lot of responsibilities. According to Jason Jordan and Michelle Vazzana, "Sales managers are now responsible for segmenting customers, designing territories, setting goals, generating reports, managing information systems, and generally executing their companies’ constantly changing go-to-market strategies. We believe that the sales manager’s role in the 21st century is the most diverse of any in any company, and we strongly contend that the investment being made in their development is not appropriately large.”

And when companies don’t invest in their sales managers it shows.

So how can you get your managers the skills needed to master any sales manager role?

You need a sales management training program designed to provide sales managers with proven skills, knowledge and the tools they need to drive bottom line performance. The reason for this series is that a small change in how you invest your training budget could possibly payoff in spades.

What are some of the benefits of sales management training?

  • Increased win rates
  • Increased margins
  • Get new sales reps productive faster
  • Decreased sales manager and sales rep turnover
  • More effective coaching and sales rep training.

Want more proof?

Research Identifies Link Between Sales Training Budget & Win Rates

Here’s the data:

  • A recent CSO Insights study found that turnover rates in sales organizations have increased in 2015 from historic lows in 2014. There's been a 35% increase in involuntary turnover.
  • Laura Andrus of CSO Insights says “...yes, reps need to up their game as much as possible, but so do sales managers. The people leading our teams need to be more effective, proactive and innovative, and if they are not, companies are going to encounter big potholes on the revenue roads ahead."
  • Research from CSO Insights has shown management training expenditures are a good first test of how companies handle their management raw material. Companies that spend the least on management training have the lowest win rates. And, as management training expenditures go up, so do win rates.

Your sales managers are in a position to lower turnover and boost revenue. Not to mention increased management training has been linked to higher win rates.

But for some reason, according to Jason Jordan, "...leadership spends lavishly to train their sellers, yet they cease to invest in their ongoing development once the sellers are promoted into management. Look at any sales organization, and there is most certainly a budget to train its salespeople. However, with almost equal certainty, there will be no budget to train its sales managers."

Why is that?

I don’t have all the answers but maybe it’s time you...

Take a Closer Look at Sales Management Training

Most companies aren't investing in training their sales managers.

And those that do often shortchange their managers by offering generic training that doesn’t address their day to day challenges.

That’s too bad because sales managers are integral to the success of your sales team.

"Sales managers are often the only contact remote or home-based salespeople have with their organization. They are the primary source of reinforcement for any training or other change effort aimed at the salespeople. They are the main channel of communication between executive leadership and the front line." ~Jason Jordan & Michelle Vazzana in Cracking the Sales Management Code

Sales managers are the top source of learning reinforcement and they're the link between sales reps and company leadership. But sales managers also have a lot to do when it comes to helping sales reps succeed.

"A sales manager has to be a great coach, building a successful team that pulls together. The manager must be an evangelist, selling the benefits of the sales process, the channel strategy, the CRM system, the customer service policies throughout the organization, etc. If your managers don’t do this, the thousands of dollars you spent developing the processes will be wasted."  CSO Perspectives: Laura Andrus, CSO Liaison, CSO Insights By Jim Dickie and Barry Trailer; Managing Partners, CSO Insights

Don’t waste your money. Your sales managers need the right skills to excel in their role. And you can help them by providing targeted sales management training that equips them

Takeaway: There’s room for improvement in most sales management training programs. You don’t need to be an expert in learning and development just to get started. An investment in sales management training  is the #1 way to improve the performance of your sales team.

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