As pillars of a company’s development, sales managers are the guarantors of sales performance. Sales management is constantly evolving and adapting to the current work context where remote work is becoming the rule in a number of companies.
The physical remoteness of sales teams has consequences for management teams. How can they continue to ensure sales teams are efficient through video chat? What posture should sales managers adopt to keep their teams motivated and committed despite the distance? In this article, we explore four key qualities of a good sales manager in the context of remote working!
1) A GOOD SALES MANAGER MUST BE ADAPTABLE
Now more than ever, it is time to reward managers qualitatively for their ability to adapt.
In this tricky time of economic recovery, companies have more interest than ever in rewarding managers not just quantitatively but also qualitatively. Managers need to be rewarded for developing their practices and habits, whether remote management or performance monitoring in a challenging economic climate etc.
“Sales functions are regularly subject to fairly complex changes (such as changing customer requirements, legislative changes and difficulties encountered). To keep their teams moving forward, managers must be able to adapt quickly and train them quickly. This ability to adapt requires a combination of strategy and operations; a good sales manager must be able to get an overview as well as work closely on the ground”. This quote is an excerpt from the commercial-academy.fr website.
2) A GOOD SALES MANAGER MUST SET THE COURSE
A good sales manager must be able to manage a schedule of monitoring points remotely.
Remote working, which has become widespread since the COVID-19 health crisis, offers less opportunity to “monitor” employees’ activities. Where a team is physically present in the same offices, it is natural and easier for a manager to follow an employee’s activities without having to frequently establish formal points with him.
Thus, if the sales manager wishes to successfully monitor the activities of his team members without seeing them regularly, he must delegate differently. It is important to note that monitoring points are relatively clear compared to office working and can be fairly well received by teams: the manager must give evidence of an educational approach and empathy in his “indirect supervision” of the activity.
3) A GOOD SALES MANAGER MUST KNOW HOW TO DELEGATE
A good sales manager must know how to give instructions and appoint specific tasks to each person: he has to delegate.
At the same time as certain assignments are entrusted, the manager must check regularly that everything is going well for their employees. Indeed, the sales manager must make sure that their employees are not facing any particular problems and that they have understood what is expected of them.
The smooth running of a delegation assignment is relatively informal when everyone is present in the office. Conversely, in the context of remote working and the distance created by the physical distance between the employee and his manager, establishing regular monitoring points can be seen as restrictive, even an obstacle, by some people.
““The secret to effective communication often lies in listening and empathy. It is important to let salespeople express themselves, ask questions and present their ideas. This is another factor that helps motivate and involve them. Moreover, listening to their comments and the difficulties encountered by the members of their team allows them to make appropriate decisions that balance their needs with the challenges facing the company”. This is an excerpt from the commercial-academy.fr website.
4) A GOOD SALES MANAGER MUST BE ATTENTIVE
A good sales manager must be vigilant and resolve any difficulties encountered by employees.
The manager has to establish formal regular points with each member of his team on a one-to-one basis, and even more so in full-time remote working.
In the search for new customers, it is not uncommon to make points at the end of each day to assess a salesperson’s progress. How many appointments have been made? How many sales leads have there been? How many new contacts have been entered in the CRM tool? How many calls have been made and emails sent? And so on. The purpose of this formal follow-up is to identify any difficulties encountered by staff members.
At the office, sales representatives will not hesitate to ask their manager if they are stuck in the middle of a task, but less so in remote working. Staff will not necessarily instinctively call their manager to tell him about a problem, as they may not think it is very important. However, they risk being slowed down and stuck on their assignment until the next time they need to communicate with their manager.
The new formality introduced by remote work is not a given for all sales managers. So, to reward managers who demonstrate an ability to adapt and a willingness to support their employees, the company may decide to include remote operational monitoring in the pay criteria for sales managers. The resilience of sales managers could thus be included in a variable pay package along with other more quantitative objectives.