The Biggest Obstacle with Sales Managers: Wasting Time

Dan Perry


I like what Dan has to say about the misuse of time on the part of Sales Managers. Like what we do here at SmartMoves, he works with a lot of sales managers. Over 51 countries visited, 221 countries represented and 103,000 sales managers worked with or trained. One of the most common sales management problems we see across the globe is misallocation of time.

The truth is sales managers simply don’t spend enough time on the things that drive sales productivity. Instead, they take corporate marketing calls at 2 PM on a Wednesday. Or forecast this month’s numbers all day on Thursday. Or take two hours on a Tuesday to get a pricing approval. These are all time sinks. Not spending the time on the most important actions is costing you productivity. And productivity is what's needed to make your number.

Solving this problem requires basic time management skills. Focusing on the right things is important to drive revenue. The most critical is coaching. Coaching is proven to increase productivity, win rate and revenue. While every sales manager we talk to tells us they try to coach, we know reality falls short. Are they really coach or is it mostly telling? Sales managers fall into the trap of telling reps what to do because they don’t have enough time to coach properly. When you allocate enough time to coach, telling stops and real coaching begins. But it comes back to the time thing. You have to spend time with your sales reps to properly coach them.

You solve the time issue by literally manufacturing time to coach. We see this in 5 fundamental things every sales manager needs to do on a weekly, monthly and quarterly schedule:

1. Conduct 1:1 Sessions with every direct report every week. These 1:1 sessions are not forecast calls. They are your opportunity to understand what is happening with your sales rep. Each one should have set agenda. It should detail not just their pipeline status, but their actions to do the job.

2. Weekly Sales Meeting. This is your opportunity to get the entire team together weekly. It’s the chance for you to review the wins and losses from the week. You also get the chance to provide some micro-training on common problems. Everyone learns (and coaches) each other.

3. Field Rides. You should be spending 3 days a week with your reps seeing customers. This means the majority of the day with one rep coaching them on their sales skills. Helping them strategize on deals. And simply helping them improve.

4. Monthly Training Sessions. Improving sales skills in today’s every changing buyer’s world is a non-negotiable to great selling. Training your reps (and getting others involved in training) not only makes them better, it drive true organizational development. Take the time monthly to improve your team.

5. Individual Development Sessions. Focusing on your sales rep and helping them develop long term really improves productivity. Spending the time with your sales rep also helps endear them to you and the team. This build a culture of coaching on your team.

These are the same recommendations that we subscribe to when working with sales managers. So…

Take a deep look at your calendar tomorrow. Analyze how you are spending your time. If you are not prioritizing the 5 major areas, set those in your calendar first. Then let everything fall around those areas. You must manufacture time to coach! This alone improves productivity the most. If you need help or just want to discuss your sales management challenges, visit us here. And if you are interested to see larger trends impacting the overall performance of your sales organization, start here. Either way, we're here to help.