Improve As a Sales Manager, But First….


Part 1

The work we do with our customers includes intensive focus on sales management. These leaders are the ones who will implement the sales process we have built for their customer-facing teams. Because sales managers are so pivotal in this process, our understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, as well as how to help them to improve, is critical to their overall success.

Many sales managers still have large teams as a result of the economic downturn in 2009; some have up as many as a dozen direct reports. Even in situations where there are five or six salespeople per team, many managers are “deal coaches,” focused on assembling the right mix of products, services and pricing to present to customers. Coaching deals is important, as are regular pipeline reviews, but sales managers shouldn’t stop there.

Coaching skills is also extremely important to overall sales results, and it is often sorely neglected in the overscheduled world of sales managers. Take a look at the sales management skills below, and stack rank your skills from 1 to 6. A “1” is your strongest skill, and a “6” is the skill where you need the most improvement. Stack ranking means you can only use each number one time. Although you may want to give yourself high marks on every skill, you’ll need to rank them 1 through 6 in order to get an accurate picture of where and how to improve.

The skills are:

  • Identifying and coaching sales rep skills before a deal’s negotiation and close
  • Enabling salespeople to understand what a qualified opportunity looks like
  • Coaching opportunities through the entire sales cycle
  • Helping salespeople negotiate and close successfully
  • Developing healthy revenue pipelines
  • Forecasting accurately

Part 2

Now comes the fun part. We’re inviting you to send in your test results to receive customized tools tailored to improve your overall performance. To submit your results, simply send an email to with your stack ranking. If you’d like to submit for your entire sales management team, or to do so anonymously, simply enter “Manager A”, “Manager B”, etc. From the scores you send in, we will respond with tools to help you improve the lowest two scores you identified, the 5 and the 6.

In addition to providing you with customized feedback on your sales management skills, we will publish a follow-up article in which we provide an aggregate view of the results gathered from our customers (again, anonymously). This benchmarking data will allow you to compare yourself to others in similar roles and will help provide you with insight on key focus areas.

So, what are you waiting for? The road to improvement begins here. We look forward to hearing from you.