Sales White Paper: The Key Role Of The Sales Manager


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Companies are radically altering their sales organizations. They are implementing processes and technology in the hopes of creating effective, efficient, predictable sales forces.

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Sales White Paper: The Key Role Of The Sales Manager

  1. 1. The Key Role of the Sales Manager WHITE PAPER
  2. 2. Share this White Paper! Copyright ©TheTAS Group. All rights reserved. 1 THE KEY ROLE OFTHE MODERN SALES MANAGER Rarely does any company today offer a product vastly superior to its competition. Rather, homogenous products have led to intense competition, and many companies succeed by having a superior sales force. Because selling is so critical to success, especially for business- to-business models, executives are demanding more control, more insight, and more predictable outcomes.Yet, with years of business process re-engineering behind us, selling can still be more art than science – difficult to define, more difficult still to predict and manage. Sales organizations are learning to change how they operate. Proven, reliable processes and enabling technology exist to create more efficient, predictable sales forces, but implementing these initiatives has proven to be a problem. For example, as many as 50 percent of CRM installations fail. Through our knowledge of change execution and management and our experience implementing change in hundreds of companies, we know that the key to changing a sales organization lies in the influence and activities of the Sales Manager. However, our research shows that Sales The Key Role of the Sales Manager INTRODUCTION Companies are radically altering their sales organizations.They are implementing processes and technology in the hopes of creating effective, efficient, predictable sales forces.The focus is typically on how these changes affect the individual sales person.We suggest that you also turn your focus to the Sales Manager, who both affects and is affected by changes you implement in the sales organization: 1. Sales Managers play the pivotal role in making or breaking the methodology, process and technology initiatives in the sales organization 2. Sales Managers can now use process, technology, and web 2.0 tools to optimize their role in the sales organization – if the changes are implemented correctly In this paper we explore the role of the modern Sales Manager, what that role exactly entails, what hinders the Sales Manager, and how the Sales Manager can overcome those barriers through alignment, end- to-end sales process, and technology.This paper can serve as a guide for ensuring the success of sales process and CRM system implementations while reinventing the role of the Sales Manager. As with any of ourWhite Papers, there will be a big variance in the seniority and experience of the readership. ThisWhite Paper aims to provide something for the complete range of requirements, but if you want to dig deeper or move wider, we urge you to get in touch with us individually. You can do this via email to: Managers seldom perform the activities that are essential to ensuring a sales force is‘vastly superior’to its competitors. This is not because they don’t know what to do. Our research shows that Sales Managers understand and define their role very well, but they are prevented from performing it optimally. In thisWhite Paper, we attempt to answer some of the questions companies are asking as they deploy new sales processes and sales technology.What is the optimal role of an ideal Sales Manager, both before and after an implementation?What prevents them from performing that role? How can Sales Managers ensure that the sales organization adopts new sales process and integrated CRM technology solutions? And, how can these enablers free up Sales Managers to perform their optimal role? Properly implemented, effective sales performance automation systems will empower the person most able to take the organization to where it needs to be, namely the Sales Manager.
  3. 3. Share this White Paper! Copyright ©TheTAS Group. All rights reserved. 2 What has to Change for Sales Managers to Reach the Optimal Role Sales Managers already know that they need to change how they allocate their time. In our survey, Sales Managers suggested that the following changes would help them achieve the ideal time allocation: • Reduce the time spent on reacting from 23% down to 9% • Reduce the reporting time from 12% to 6% • Reduce the administrative time from 15% to 5% These shifts would allow Sales Managers reallocate time to desired activities: • Increase planning time from 15% to 18% • Increase people development time from 11% to 21% • Increase proactive review time from 11% to 17% • Increase customer time from 13% to 24% The Sales Managers we surveyed obviously understood what they should be doing, so why did they spend so much time on the‘wrong’activities? Next we explored what prevents Sales Managers from performing their true function and what is required to reinvent their roles. THE OPTIMAL ROLE OFTHE SALES MANAGER What Sales Managers Should be Doing As vital stakeholders and prime movers of sales success, particularly through a sensitive change management exercise like implementing sales process and methodology solutions, Sales Managers need to be focused on their core competencies to stay competitive.TheTAS Group conducted a comprehensive study to identify the key attributes and competencies of the most effective Sales Managers. Our research concludes that the Sales Manager’s optimal role has three essential elements: • Planning – Developing and owning the operating plan for the Business Unit’s market analysis, business development, and resources • People Development – Establishing the resources needed to successfully execute the operating plan by hiring, coaching, and developing people • Proactive Review – Managing the revenue by monitoring, controlling, and reviewing sales activity. Sales Managers traditionally accomplish this through proactively reviewing sales plans and consolidating these plans into the business forecast for the organization What Sales Managers Actually Do We also analyzed how Sales Managers actually spend their time. Sales Managers already do some of the things needed to accomplish these three functions.They do spend time on planning, people development, and proactive review. Unfortunately, they don’t spend most of their time in these activities—only 37% of their working day: • 15% in planning • 11% in people development • 11% in proactive review1 Fifty percent of Sales Managers’time is spent on counter- productive activities: • 23% on firefighting and reacting to urgent issues • 12% on reporting to management • 15% on administrative tasks • Only 13% is spent with customers. 1 FiguresfromtheSurveyofEuropeanFieldManagersbyTheTASGroup
  4. 4. Share this White Paper! Copyright ©TheTAS Group. All rights reserved. 3 Time Pressure That rare commodity, time, is also a barrier.Time is the only source of capital a Sales Manager has, and it is a unique asset: you get it only once; you can spend it only once; and once it is spent, it is gone forever. With the increasing scope (number of reports), and the pressures for help, insight, and mind share from communities both internal and external, Sales Managers are left with little time for their core activities. And, because these activities are frequently more difficult (i.e. coaching vs. selling), Sales Managers tend to put them off. Obviously, removing these barriers and creating an environment in which Sales Managers bring real value to the organization – beyond administration and‘super selling’– will require more than a compensation overhaul.The next section outlines three steps to reinventing your Sales Manager’s role. BARRIERSTO SALES MANAGERS PERFORMINGTHEIR OPTIMAL ROLE To understand what was needed to reinvent the Sales Manager’s role, we first identified the barriers that exist (both real and perceived).These barriers fall into four areas: Expectations and Reward Systems Most companies do not clearly identify and reward the activities they actually want their Sales Managers to perform. We asked Sales Managers to compare the amount of time that their senior managers spend discussing people development versus the lagging business indicators of revenue or profit performance. Sales Managers said their managers spend anywhere from 1-5% of the time discussing people development and 95-99% of the time discussing revenue and profits.The axiom“Tell me how a person is measured, I’ll tell you what they do!”holds true here.This measurement / reward / expectation system drives Sales Managers to focus more on the delivery of business despite, rather than through, their people. Salespeople’s Behaviors The behavior of salespeople often influences and interferes with the Sales Manager activities. Many salespeople cannot clearly identify how and when to use their Sales Managers appropriately. Granted, this is usually because the sales person has suffered through ineffective and inappropriate historical experiences with a Sales Manager.The relationship between a salesperson and Sales Manager may even be adversarial, with the Sales Manager fighting for the right to coach when they accompany salespeople on sales calls.The result is infrequent and ineffective people development. Selling vs. Managing Companies usually promote salespeople to Sales Managers because of their stellar selling ability. It is assumed that because a salesperson sells well, they automatically have the skills, ability and willingness to manage other salespeople. Companies seldom coach and train Sales Managers for their jobs, so it is not surprising that Sales Managers don’t coach and train their salespeople. Sales Managers have the tendency to remain within their comfort zone, i.e. selling, and not stray too far into coaching, reinforcing skills and process, and sustaining sales behavioral changes.
  5. 5. Share this White Paper! Copyright ©TheTAS Group. All rights reserved. 4 These four phases are then supported by the sales management functions that allow Sales Managers to monitor, control, and review each process, within each phase of the end-to-end sales processes. Each phase is detailed in the following pages. Market Management. During the Market Management phase, the market space is segmented into areas in which the sales and marketing organizations will communicate value propositions (also refer toTheTAS Group’sWhite Paper‘Messages that Sell’for more detail on how to ensure a coordinated sales and marketing approach to this). Companies should use a process that segments based on identified customer, partner and product portfolios, and then support each segment with an accurately managed database. By using a process that integrates the Sales Manager’s function, this phase results in targeted sales and marketing campaigns that the Sales Manager can easily resource, monitor, and review. Customer and Partner Management.The Customer and Partner Management phase involves proactively driving profitable and predictable revenue streams from and with the company’s selected clients, prospects, and partners (both resellers and alliances).The intent is to maximize the revenue from, and the relationships with, the company’s enterprise, mid-market, mass, channel, and alliance accounts. Employing proven, predictable processes for each type of account and integrating the Sales Manager’s functions into processes ensures better coaching, review, and planning. Winning Business.TheWinning Business phase consists of all activities that are necessary to compete successfully for sales opportunities. A valid opportunity plan is built on deep insight into the client’s situation, and it encompasses strategy selection and detailed engagement planning designed to ensure that you win and the competition fails. Sales Managers must be‘stitched in’to this process, and coach individual salespeople to it as well. Service Management.The last phase in the end-to-end sales process, Service Management, includes all activities from the ‘Point of Sale’to the‘Point of Implementation’and beyond into ongoing support. REINVENTINGTHE SALES MANAGER’S ROLE To eliminate barriers discussed in the previous section and reinvent your Sales Manager’s role, you will have to: • Align expectations • Install enabling processes • Implement supporting technology Step 1: Alignment The first step in enabling Sales Managers to focus on their core activities is to align senior management’s expectations around the sales management role. Part of this step is aligning the Sales Manager’s measurement and reward system with the real objectives. Once Sales Managers are being compensated on the preferred activities, it will follow that they will spend time on the critical priorities of planning, people development, and proactive review. In parallel, you must provide and align resources that allow your sales people to sell and your Sales Managers to manage. This is the foundation of an empowered sales and sales management organization. The real difference between empowering Sales Managers and abdicating responsibility to them is creating an effective environment and conditions through: • Developing Sales Managers to ensure they can perform the expected activities well • Building a supportive infrastructure • Creating a measurement and reward system that rewards the preferred behavior Step 2: Installing End–to-End Processes The second step in realizing the full potential of the Sales Manager is to install complete end-to-end sales processes, and then integrate the sales management function into these processes. An end-to-end sales process consists of four phases: • Market Management:Targeting of company resources on the right markets • Customer and Partner Management: Creating predictable business streams • Opportunity Management: Performing the activities required to win business • Service Management: Delivering significant and measurable value
  6. 6. Share this White Paper! Copyright ©TheTAS Group. All rights reserved. 5 The sustaining sponsor, Conner and Clutterbuck argue, must understand that they stand on‘a burning platform’—that if this change is not successful, their very livelihood is at risk. In a sales environment, theVice President of Sales is invariably the initiating sponsor for changing sales process. However, it often falls to the Sales Manager to be the sustaining sponsor. For a Sales Manager, the task is two-fold: ensure that salespeople successfully change their individual behavior, and support the CRM system implementation – a daunting task if the CRM system does not prove itself to be valuable to the salespeople. While basic CRM systems can be of limited use for salespeople, those implemented effectively that focus on or incorporate Sales Performance Automation – in other words geared specifically around sales person productivity – are the most valuable resources to support Sales Managers. Sales Performance Automation systems bring confidence to managers because they provide accurate, objectively applied data, allow them to regain the time they need to be effective coaches rather than number-chasers and relieves the firefighting, troubleshooting, and administrative burdens through automated sales processes, on-demand forecast analysis, and effective performance learning and coaching for salespeople. A CRM system complemented with a system like Dealmaker can automate and sustain the Sales Manager through the four phases of the end-to-end sales process. Dealmaker is the ideal vehicle for enabling Sales Managers to monitor, control, and review their teams and processes. Only by delivering, measuring, recording, and communicating value can the sales organization build sufficient momentum for further business with customers and within markets. Monitor, Control, and Review.The four phases of the end- to-end sales process are supported by a sales management control structure, including a real-time measurement system that provides Sales Managers with accurate leading indicators. With such a system, Sales Managers can correctly make timely modifications and adjustments to marketing, sales, and service behaviors. Step 3: Installing SupportiveTechnology The third element in achieving optimal sales management effectiveness is to implement appropriate and supportive technology. Customer Relationship Management (‘CRM’) systems, and performance automation components that tie into the CRM system, have significantly helped companies implement a structured sales process, with the idea of relieving the pressures on sales management. Merely installing the technology, however, is not enough. Companies have widely adopted CRM system in an attempt to support successful sales processes, but historically many CRM system implementations don’t deliver what is needed to be unsuccessful. Salespeople accustomed to succeeding on instinct and personal skills have resisted this change and dislike the strain of working with an unfamiliar software system, particularly one that is manual and cumbersome to use. In their book, Managing at the Speed of Change, Daryl R. Conner and David Clutterbuck explain that to successfully change a process, two sponsors are needed: • An initiating sponsor to introduce the need for change and demand its implementation • A sustaining sponsor to ensure that the change is implemented and take charge of the change process
  7. 7. Share this White Paper! Copyright ©TheTAS Group. All rights reserved. 6 to win the deal? Coach Me does just that, and helps the sales person and the sales manager solve this problem. For example, John is a sales person working on a deal. He is preparing for a deal review with his Sales Manager Claire. He wants to be sure that he has thought through as many of the issues on this deal before their call. Coach Me has seen lots of situations like this, and when John clicks on the Coach Me link in Dealmaker, which is transparently integrated into his CRM system, he’s presented with some coaching advice about how he should approach the situation. Claire is John’s Manager. She knows that the deal is a competitive scenario, and the relationships are very important. She wants to focus in on the competitive strategy that John has selected, as Coach Me has highlighted some exposure. Also, looking at the customer’s organization, Claire uses Coach Me to uncover areas where there is risk. Now she’s prepared, and her conversation with John will be really productive and focused on how she can help him overcome these challenges. Coach Me helps the Sales Professional John self-coach up to the point where he needs Claire’s help. For the Sales Manager Claire, she can spend her time with John on the areas where she can really add value. Coach Me helps the sales person to sell smarter, and the Sales Manager to manage better. When supporting technology is intelligent, and can provide intelligent guidance, recommendations and prioritization calls for the sales person on complex deals, then it pays back what the sales manager and sales professional puts into their CRM system – many times over. We’ve already covered how vital coaching is to the success of the selling organization. According to the Corporate Executive Board’s Sales Executive Council, companies that integrate training, coaching and real-world experience (i.e., experiential learning) have seen a 4-fold increase in productivity, up to 88%. Furthermore, as a result of coaching, Return on Investment in sales goes up 27%, according to Gallup and, where sales coaching is involved, customer loyalty improves by 56%. So a good coach is worth his or her weight in gold. Unfortunately, as the research has covered in theWhite Paper, Sales Managers simply don’t have as much time to spend on sales coaching as they would like, and even if they do have the time, unless everybody is well prepared, the coaching experience is not always the most productive, and, sometimes it might not be the most pleasant either. The end result is that revenue performance suffers. But what if your CRM system could coach? Imagine if your CRM system knew everything about the deal you were working on and proactively coached you on what had to do COACH ME – REAL-TIME, DEAL-SPECIFIC COACHING
  8. 8. Share this White Paper! Copyright ©TheTAS Group. All rights reserved. 7 CONCLUSION As markets have changed, selling has also changed – it has become more difficult. Some salespeople may still not fully realize the full impact of this change. In particular, they may not fully appreciate how their business managers will put increasing pressure on the sales organization to perform, not only in terms of delivering revenue, but also by doing so predictably. Creating predictability requires a sales process that is measured by leading indicators, as well as the traditional lagging indicators, of sales performance. The pivotal role in realizing the required sales behavioral change, utilizing the leading indicators to effect course corrections, and achieving the return on organizational investment belong to the Sales Manager. The key to supporting Sales Managers is to ensure that the organization is proactively aligned with their role, and to install effective end-to-end sales process supported by effective sales performance automation technology like the Dealmaker platform and Coach Me. We’d be delighted to discuss your specific needs further, and explore how Dealmaker can drive sustained sales performance improvement in your organization. If you wish to find out more, please contact us at
  9. 9. ABOUTTHETAS GROUP TheTAS Group helps progressive sales organizations increase their sales velocity resulting in higher win rates, bigger deals, shorter sales cycles, and more qualified deals in the pipeline. Our unique value is deep methodology embedded within intelligent Dealmaker software, 100% native in Salesforce. Smart coaching, delivered just-in-time, improves sales performance and accelerates sales results.We have changed the paradigm of improving sales effectiveness from traditional sales training to delivering sales methodology and insights when and where the sales person is working a sales opportunity. For more information visit Copyright ©TheTAS Group. All rights reserved.This briefing is for customer use only and no usage rights are conveyed. Nothing herein may be reproduced in any form without written permission ofTheTAS Group.