From coaching sales reps to being approachable, sales managers have lots on their plate and they have to manage it all with perfection. Similarly, reps have their sole aspirations and expectations from their bosses to keep up with too! But what is it that each of them expect from the other? How can they really meet each other midway to work efficiently?
What sales managers think reps want
A sales manager, in particular, think (and must think) a step ahead in the profession since he or she is the key driver of success of an organization. Without a sales manager, one can’t expect a strong sales management team and coaching sales reps is definitely a part of the process.
But sales managers having reached a certain benchmark in their careers, aren’t really able to gauge what exactly their sales team members expect from them. Here’s what a typical manager thinks his reps expect him to be for working effectively as a team:
- Confidence: Selling is a game and it is all about numbers. If at the end of the day, reps don’t make numbers, they are scrutinised for not doing enough. To make work easier for them, it is necessary for the sales manager to exude ‘confidence’ in meeting and even exceeding the targets set by the organization. He or she needs to show reps that the demands of this profession, though taxing, are natural and well paying so that they give it their best shot.
- Communication: A sales manager feels it is important for him or her to ‘talk’ to the team on a regular basis. Whether it is regarding fixing new goals, dealing with petty issues or changing sales tactics, he needs to pump them up to perform.
- Time Management: Meeting targets well in time is a daunting task for many. Sales reps are responsible for making timely submissions, which more often than not, doesn’t happen. From generating leads to pursuing them and closing deals, time management plays a crucial part. Sales managers, with years of experience under their belt, are able to manage their time perfectly – and they think that’s all the sales reps need to see to get inspired.
- Organization: The sales reps may have their targets in place but if they don’t know how to meet them so as to suffice the organization’s end goals, what’s the point? And that’s exactly why a sales manager thinks he needs to model ‘organization’ while working with or in front of his reps.
But there are two sides to every coin.
What sales reps really want
Just like the sales manager, even the reps have their own sets of preferences and of course, assumptions. While a sales manager may take relevant decisions on the basis of circumstances and observations, sales reps think (and function) on a different tangent.
Here’s what they are actually seeking for from the managers:
- Coaching: Reps understand and value the importance of honing their skills to not only make great sales and do good work but also push their career in a particular direction. While they believe their hard work will fetch them promotion, they understand it is not an easy job. They expect their managers to impart industry knowledge and coach them to be an effective team player.
- Strategy: The sales model is ever-evolving to cater to the changing trends, which is why it is important to have a strategy in place beforehand. Sales reps expect the manager to have done his bit of research on current trends, business metrics and laid down a blueprint of how to reach the end goal. While improvising on the go is unavoidable, the reps seek for at least a direction to begin working in.
- Leadership: Reps like a clear perspective on things at work every once a while, everyone does. Whether it is regarding strategizing a policy or closing a deal—reps expect their sales manager to act as a support system and offer insights on dealing with the challenges in the sales business. In case of a deal-gone-raw, they expect the manager to pull them out of it or make it right. They want to be led by an example and who is better than the sales manager to guide them with experience?
- Feedback: Although it is necessary for the sales manager to instill a strong team spirit, sometimes conducting an individual analysis per rep is also important. Needless to say, reps would appreciate having someone senior to can rely on for advice or feedback, whenever necessary. A positive feedback will help them stay motivated and a negative feedback will put things in perspective and make them work towards it.
- Engagement: Involvement of seniors is a necessity in any field. Professional selling also requires the same. Any rep, at any time, would and does appreciate an engaging manager. Someone who doesn’t just dictate a strategy, but also sits down with the team to discuss more ideas to improvise on it.
- Structure: A structured way of working ensures success in any organization. Sales reps expect their sales manager to set up a basic structure or hierarchy at work. It not only highlights the roles and responsibilities of each employee but also ensures smoother and faster communication.
Both sales managers and reps have to work together to gain maximum results. Therefore, it is important to be well coordinated and understand each other’s expectations. There is a reason why the entire setup is called a sales ‘team’.
Equal efforts, minimum risks and maximum outputs.