We all know how important management training is for managers and sales training is for salespeople, but we often do not consider the importance of training for a sales manager or sales management training.
Why am I saying this? Well there are two main reasons, firstly many sales managers have been promoted into the role of a sales manager because of their ability to sell, not necessarily based on their ability and knowledge to manage. Secondly most of us feel as a manager once we know how to manage and lead a team that is all we need to know and in general terms I agree. However there are a few unique areas of being a sales manager that we may not have on other areas of management.
For example if someone is a sales manager they may have to go on sales calls with their team and offer what I commonly referred to as the ‘kerbside drill’ in other words talk to the salesperson before the call and then offer effective relevant feedback after the call.
Although this is part of ongoing coaching sales managers still need to receive sales and sales management training to carry this out in an effective highly motivational manner. The other thing that is important is the ability to break the sales call down into easy digestible steps or chunks when giving feedback. It always amazes me how when you ask a sales person ‘how do you sell? They will answer with things like:
- I just talk and tell people what we have
- It is easy I just have the gift of the gab so it’s simple
- I just play the numbers game if I throw enough ???? at the wall some of it will stick
- I just do it, you know what I mean, I just chat and talk rubbish and most of the time I get the sale.
In truth there will also be some good salespeople who will know there is more to it than that and the role of the sales manager is to work through this in easy digestible chunks with the salesperson.
I refer to this as the steps of the sale and if each step is carried out properly then there is a greater chance of closing the deal. Most sales managers need to understand the importance of sales management training to help them manage these steps with their salespeople. If you have a set of steps which work for your business a Sales Manager can then help teach train and coach the team.
The reality is the answer to the question ‘how do you sell’? is that all good salespeople follow a structure or process, often without even knowing what they are doing and if a sales manager can break the process down they can then effectively manage each component part.
A typical sales steps process will look something like this (assuming the prospecting has already been done and we are now just talking about the sale)
- An introduction-who you are and where you are from
- Your reason for calling
- Ice breaker/Rapport build
- Permission to ask questions
- Fact find to establish a need with good relevant questions
- Listen effectively and confirm
- Gain agreement there is a need established
- Present the product as a solution
- Manage and overcome objections or rebuttals
- Close the sale
- Consolidate the business
Of course every business is different but even salespeople who say I just talk will unknowingly be going through some or all of the above steps.
On a recent sales management training course someone said the role of a sales manager is to motivate, coach, train, develop the team and to inspect what they expect.
The final comment of inspect what you expect is easy of you have a process or get your team to follow the steps of the sale which are right for you. As a manager it is hard to manage a sales process if it is ‘I just talk’ but if it has steps similar to the ones above it is easy to manage and teach the salespeople at each step.
The other thing that is important about having steps or digestible chunks is that for the new salesperson who has joined the sales managers team, if we cannot coach or train in simple steps we are setting the salesperson up for failure unless of course they are just natural salespeople. Not having a process is a little bit like trying to do a 1000 piece jigsaw without the picture.
Another part of sales management training is around the whole area of coaching, it is said that coaching and feedback is the breakfast of champions and a method of coaching I used and I know is still taught on many sales management training courses is called the PESOS method.
PESOS being an acronym which means:
Plan and prepare
Explain what and why
Finally there is no doubt that sales managers will benefit greatly from attending sales management training and companies need to try and understand the importance of this in order to help the sales manager and improve the sales and motivation of the sales team