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Hold Salespeople Accountable Without Micromanaging

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TaskHuman offers leadership training for sales managers

With so much on the line right now, sales managers are hard-pressed to get the most out of their salespeople. But there’s a way to drive results that works and a way that has the opposite effect of alienating your team and shutting down their potential to meet their goal! A big part of a sales manager’s job is pressing them to be accountable for their individual results that make up the team’s success or failure. Where managers fall short is when they start micromanaging their people as a way to create accountability in their team. 

Why Do Managers Micromanage?

Although most managers will agree they all hated being micromanaged themselves, they often find themselves doing it. It’s tempting to want to pour over the fine details that are available now within CRM systems and other online metrics that technology has made available. Managers in good faith want to know what is happening at each stage of the sales funnel so they can intervene if there are signs of potential losses. Sales managers also get lots of revenue-related questions from their higher-ups who want metrics and data to support their corporate direction. Some managers can’t resist diving into the data and then analyzing it to pieces to satisfy their own anxieties about how their team is performing under their direction. Sadly, some managers micromanage, through data and other overbearing means, because that is what was done to them. They think that what they saw their sales managers do with their teams is how management works. 

Micro-Managing, The Kiss Of Death?

Here’s the thing, micromanaging creates far more pitfalls than results. It’s bad for everyone on the sales team, including the manager. The manager drives themselves slowly insane trying to juggle the puzzle pieces for every member of their team and never truly gains their respect. The talented salespeople start looking for other jobs. They got into sales for the freedom and fun in addition to the financial opportunity. The new sales associates are turned off and checked out, so they never develop into successful producers. The best way for a sales manager to deflate any salesperson, new or seasoned, is by constantly looking over their shoulder, asking them about activities like the number of phone calls they make or the number of minutes they spoke on the phone. No salesperson wants endless emails from their sales manager asking them what’s going on with each of the deals in their pipeline. Managing like this will kill a sales team. 

What Else Can Sales Managers Do In Challenging Times?

There’s no doubt that sales managers are under enormous pressure on the eve of recession and being short on talent. So then, how can leaders keep personal accountability at the forefront with their direct reports while maintaining respect and commitment to the team’s goal? There are two guidelines that leading sales leadership coaches recommend, which are backed by quantifiable results. 

#1. Hire Smart

The first is to hire the right person. It’s difficult in a hiring shortage, but looking for the person’s character traits rather than their previous stats and industry experience can simplify the hiring process. Look for someone with the right mindset who wants fun, freedom, and a nice paycheck, and is driven internally to achieve those things. Look for character traits like their ease of communicating, humor, resilience, and positivity. It’s much easier to train a person on industry knowledge and the team’s sales process than to reshape a person’s personality and core values. 

#2. Lead with the Pipeline

The most important data point for sales managers to track and discuss is the new deals added to a salesperson’s pipeline. Sales managers will do well to meet systematically with individual salespeople to discuss with them only this one data point and nothing else. The sales cycle for the organization can vary. Longer sales cycles might warrant a monthly pipeline review, while shorter ones can require a weekly meeting. Keep the meeting short, 15 to 20 minutes at most, and save coaching and training for another time. The pipeline meeting is an opportunity for the sales manager to praise good performance and inquire about inadequate performance. That way, a manager only has to discuss activity levels when a salesperson earns the hot seat for themselves. Most salespeople will do anything to avoid having their activity level scrutinized. By focusing on the health of their pipeline first, managers can use a salesperson’s disdain for micromanaging to their advantage.

Keep The Conversation Going. 

Have you considered what it would be like to have a sales leadership coach available to discuss critical aspects of leading and developing a powerhouse sales team? TaskHuman’s coaching platform offers sales managers instant access to experienced sales leaders that can mentor them throughout the different phases of their sales leadership career. The 1:1, on-demand nature of the coaching platform makes connecting with a coach convenient and private. Investing in TaskHuman’s extensive leadership resources can support sales managers who are the lifeblood of a company’s revenue team. Ask us how we can help.

 

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