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Building a Sales Leadership Culture

“Super reps” are often promoted into sales management positions. But their impact is limited when they stay tactically focused on deals. Most sales managers need a framework for how to coach, lead, and develop their teams. Maximize your return on sales management by enabling every sales manager with a system for maximizing sales performance and operating as change agents.

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Video Transcript

My name is Dave Kella, I'm a consulting principal with DSG. One of the things I do is I help sales executives build a sales leadership culture. What I mean by that is how do you take a culture that has managers who act like super reps and build that into managers who are coaches.

What I mean by a super rep is that, in many cases, I find that sales managers think that their role is to go close deals. They came up from being a sales rep that's what they know how to do so their sales team becomes basically opportunity identifiers. One of the challenges in that, frankly, is that there's no leverage within the organization that you're trying to move from tactical kind of involvement to strategic involvement but you just can't get to there because of their focus on, "I've got to get these deals closed." You end up with a situation where you're reacting to the deals that are out there and not really being able to be proactive with where you're trying to take the business.

In the end, what you end up with is managers who are confused. Confused on what their role is. Nobody really ever taught them how to be a sales manager, all they know how to do is be a really good sales rep. What your sales organization does is it loses a key leverage point. You've got a few reps who are doing really, really well and then you've got everybody else that is basically helping the manager close deals.

If that's the situation that you're in then how do you change it. What's that look like? Typically from a cadence standpoint, what do you want the sales manager to be doing with the rep on a weekly basis? What do you want them to be doing on a monthly basis? What do you want them to be doing on a quarterly basis? Let's just take an example of weekly activity, manager with sales rep. Some sort of sales activity meeting. Now a scheduled meeting, not just ad hoc but scheduled with an agenda that talks about what are the key sales activities that you're trying to drive whether that be opportunity generation kinds of activities or account development kind of activities but there's certain things you have an expectation the reps going to do. Coach it on a weekly basis and have a guide to what that meeting is going to look like.

The next piece then would be from a monthly basis. Most people have some sort of forecast and pipeline meeting. We would suggest a very structured pipeline forecast meeting that talks about pipeline quantity, quality, flow. You're going to have to have something set up there to do that and that leads into a forecast conversation around what's committed in forecast, what's best case, what are you working on, what's going to happen, what actions are occurring within that.

Then last of all, on a quarterly basis look at what is the territory plan for the reps. A bit of a look back to say where you are year-to-date but more importantly than that, what are your plans for this quarter in order to either leverage the strengths versus looking at the improvement areas?

All of this, by the way, supported by coaching guidance and a coaching guide that says suggested the agenda for the meeting, it says how long the meeting should take, what preparations needs to be required and then what are the questions that needed to be asked and each one of the critical sales execution areas.

The end game on this, two things. One is clarity in role and expectations. Role of the sales manager, are they the super rep? No, because that doesn't give you the leverage. What you're looking for is that sales manager in the second point to be really the leverage point to drive this. Instead of having 20% of our reps that are driving 80% of your revenue, you can begin to drive a ton more revenue across anywhere from 50 to 80% of your reps because that sales manager is through their coaching activities are really enabling that kind of sales performance.

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