4 Reasons to Train Your Sales Managers INSTEAD of Your Reps


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We were recently speaking at an industry conference where Neil Rackham, the best-selling author of SPIN Selling, made the interesting comment. Thought –provoking as always, Neil said that he would invest 10 times as much in training sales managers as he would invest in training sales reps. (Watch the video clip of Neil) While we agree that sales managers are the keys to the sales kingdom, we would offer 4 very specific reasons why we believe this is a solid strategy to improve sales performance.

1) Sales Manager Training is a High-Leverage Investment
When you train one salesperson, you’ve improved the performance of one salesperson. When you train one sales manager, you’ve improved the performance of the manager’s entire team. To borrow a term from the military, the sales manager is a ‘force multiplier’ that can single-handedly and disproportionately improve the performance of a sales force. In times when sales performance is struggling AND training budgets are being tightened, there’s no greater place to make a high-impact training investment than in your sales managers.

2) Sales Management Training Boosts the ROI on Previous Investments
It is our observation that most sales forces have exhausted every possible investment before they turn their attention to their sales managers. They will have deployed a sales methodology – probably more than once. They will have installed a CRM tool – probably more than once. They will have engineered and re-engineered their sales compensation plans. And THEN they turn their attention to sales management. But there’s good news when you finally do this… You don’t have to replace any of the stuff you’ve already put in place. Instead, targeted sales management training can help you reap even more from those investments by enabling sales managers to coach and manage their reps to execute them more effectively.

3) You Don’t Need to Shut Down Your Sales Force
As obvious as this might seem, you don’t have to take your salespeople out of the field to train their sales managers. Selling can continue. Bringing sales managers out of the field for a few days to sharpen their skills and knowledge is a relatively low-risk affair with huge potential upside. While your sales engine continues to run, your sales managers are preparing themselves to supercharge that engine through improved management and coaching.

4) Sales Management Is Typically a Neglected Lever
Finally, high-quality sales management training is often absent from most sales forces’ training agendas. If sales managers receive any training, it’s usually on generic coaching or leadership models. Ironically, managers rarely get trained on the things that they do every day… Help their reps manage their sales pipelines, acquire new customers, grow existing accounts, and get the most from their assigned territories. We find that sales managers are incredibly receptive to useful training for their role, since they might have gone their entire careers without it.

In Closing
To us and other sales experts like the legendary Neil Rackham, it’s clear that sales managers are a high-leverage, underserved population that can have a disproportionate impact on improved sales performance. BUT, you have to provide them with relevant training that helps them do their jobs better. If you feel that there’s room to improve your own sales management team, please contact us to discuss the quickest path to get your sales managers – and the rest of your sales force – performing at the highest possible level.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jason Jordan
Jason Jordan is a partner of Vantage Point Performance and co-author of Cracking the Sales Management Code. Jordan is a recognized thought leader in B2B selling and conducts ongoing research into management best practices in hiring, developing, measuring, and managing world-class sales organizations. For more information, visit www.vantagepointperformance.com.


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