Keep Sales Managers Focused On What Matters With Sales Management Manuals

Sales managers who are able to dedicate time to high priority tasks support their sales teams more effectively to win more deals.

Defining your sales management process

Question: Has your Sales Organisation implemented a documented sales management manual describing the hard skills (such as metrics management and pipeline skills) to be followed by all sales managers – and do your sales managers consistently display all of the hard skills (such as metrics management and pipeline skills) to be effective in their role?

The Reality 

According to our research at ThinkSales Global, only 24.9% of Sales Organisations have a documented sales management manual describing the hard skills (such as metrics management and pipeline skills) to be followed by all sales managers in place.

In addition, 26% of companies rate their confidence as Outstanding that their sales managers consistently display all of the hard skills (such as metrics management and pipeline skills) to be effective in their role.

The ‘High-Priority Tasks’ Problem

We all know that sales managers are extremely busy. Their daily activities include calming down upset customers, prospects or sales executives; writing and checking reports, correcting errors, providing emotional support, answering redundant questions, chasing sales executives because their CRM isn’t up-to-date or paperwork hasn’t been completed, dealing with interruptions and repeating the same interventions over and over again with sub-par performers.

These multiple demands on a sales manager’s time tend to be urgent rather than important, but because they are so frequent, many (if not most) sales managers never manage to get to the high-priority tasks such as metrics management and pipeline management that will drive sales results.

Without a formal structure in place that manages where sales managers spend their time, how many lost opportunities are left on the table simply because there’s no time to address them?

Build a time management process that supports sales managers

Step one when building a time management process is understanding where your sales managers are spending their time versus where they should be spending their time.

According to a study by Dr. Adam Rapp of The University of Alabama, sales managers typically spend their time on four types of activities: 

  1. Managing sellers (32%): This includes coaching, staff and team meetings and joint selling
  2. Managing information (26%): This includes forecasting, developing sales, developing goals and mapping plans to achieve those goals
  3. Direct customer interaction (23%): This includes client service resolution, direct selling, follow-up
  4. Administrative activities (15%): This includes personnel tracking, reports, emails, entering data into the company’s CRM system, management meetings and conference calls

According to Dr. Rapp, the sales managers who saw the most significant positive impact on team performance spent the most time managing their sales teams. 

Based on the study, he believes that managing the sales team is the single most important activity that a sales manager can do. However, it can also be one of the most challenging to fit into busy schedules, which is why time management is so important.

Do This: 

Here is a simple framework to help your managers get the most out of the hours they have in a day.

1. Prioritise money hours

Getting a lot accomplished in one day starts with a simple motto: Feed the Eagles and Starve the Pigeons.

  • Eagles are top priorities that have to get accomplished today. They are a person’s six priorities. Create a daily list of six Eagles and then create a ‘Pigeons’ list – delegate as many Pigeons as possible and focus on getting Eagles accomplished first.
  • Pigeons are time sinks. They drain managers of one of their most important assets – their time. This doesn’t mean they can’t also be somewhat important tasks, and often they’re quite urgent, but they’re not strategic tasks. If managers let the Pigeons rule, they will monopolise their day, and no-one will get around to starting or returning to important Eagle

2. Formalise the process

It’s not always possible to increase the amount of time spent managing a sales team, which means sales managers need to be able to increase the effectiveness of the time they do have with them.

Here’s the good news: a Sales Performance Optimisation Report by CSO Insights reveals that adding just a small amount of formality and process to managing your team, can have a significant impact.

Here are some of the highlights of the report:

  • Companies with established formal processes experienced a 10% increase in forecasted deals won
  • A 9% increase in sales execs meeting targets
  • And a 10% increase in companies reaching their goals.

Help your managers to understand that if they spent five days a week on team management, but had no structure or objectives, time alone would not result in the outcomes they’re looking for.

To improve the quality of the time that they have, use this three-phase framework to drive improvement:

  1. Optimise time allocation
  2. Define the management process, but most importantly, have a process
  3. Take the time to train and coach the sales team.

Assess the health of your sales organisation

A documented sales management manual describing the hard skills to be followed by all sales managers and sales managers who consistently display all of those hard skills to be effective in their roles are two of 322 measures of a world-class Sales Organisation.

ThinkSales Global is a specialist revenue engineering consultancy.

We assist our clients to deliver market-defying results through strategic and tactical intentions within a Sales Organisation Maturity Model that addresses the five key pillars of high-performing Sales Organsations, namely:

  1. Competitive Strategy
  2. Customer Engagement
  3. Sales Talent
  4. Sales Management
  5. Sales Enablement

How does your Sales Organisation stack up? Find out by taking the ThinkSales 5 Pillar Strategic Sales Assessment™.

This first-of-its-kind 360-degree gap analysis report enables your Sales Leadership team to assess its strengths and detect weaknesses and impediments to revenue growth across the five pillars.

Click here for more information on the ThinkSales 5 Pillar Strategic Sales Assessment™.