5 Sales Management Tips: Help Your Reps Succeed

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Sales Management. Simplified." by Mike Weinberg. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What distinguishes a good sales manager from a mediocre one? What are some sales management tips that can help you become the former?

Sales managers have a lot on their plate. They inspire sales reps to do their best while sourcing top talent for the business. They set ambitious yet realistic sales goals and hold their team accountable for them. They ensure a healthy sales culture by ensuring fair compensation and celebrating top performers.

These five sales management tips will help you set your team for success.

Tip 1. Set Goals and Hold People Accountable for Them

If you don’t set goals, your salespeople will be ineffective and unmotivated because they’ll have nothing to push them to work hard. Your sales culture will be one of accepted mediocrity rather than success.

As well as setting goals, it’s important to hold your team members accountable to those goals and enforce consequences for poor performance. Failing to do so effectively renders all team members’ goals pointless and discourages them from pushing themselves to excel—why would any salesperson work hard to achieve a goal when they know there’s no punishment for coasting? Again, mediocrity will become the norm in your team.

Tip 2. Celebrate and Reward Salespeople

Everyone appreciates praise—and people quickly become resentful and unhappy if they feel they’re not receiving enough positive feedback. An easy way to reward top talent is to find out what drives them, or what they feel they need—for instance, high pay, recognition, or autonomy—and give it to them. He cautions that if you don’t do this, your top performers will leave your company to find an employer that will. 

As well as giving your salespeople fair pay, you must give top performers your time and attention. Regularly check in with them, or take them out to coffee to celebrate their successes—anything to make these employees feel seen and valued. According to Weinberg, too often, sales managers focus only on coaching their weaker team members, ignoring their top talent—and nobody likes to be ignored. Ignored top performers will become resentful and your culture will suffer for it.

Tip 3. Train Your Salespeople

One of the reasons for high staff turnover in sales roles is that sales representatives often lack training in the essential sales skills (e.g. making cold sales calls, closing techniques, etc.) Therefore, coaching your sales team is essential to generating optimum performance.

To kick off your coaching, sales expert Mike Weinberg recommends regularly shadowing your salespeople—either by conducting joint calls if they work in inside sales or joint visits if they work in field sales. You’ll gain firsthand knowledge of how each team member works, helping you to identify their strengths and weaknesses. You can then coach each person based on their weaker areas. 

Tip 4. Hire for Specific Sales Roles

Don’t hire general “salespeople” who are expected to complete every task in the sales process, from finding new leads, to retaining existing customers, to assisting customers with technical questions. Instead, make each sales role on your team clear and specific and hire people with the skills needed to excel in their particular role. For example, you could have distinct positions for account managers, who maintain relationships with current customers, and sales specialists, who seek out new business opportunities.

Tip 5. Fire (or Help) Consistent Underachievers

The last (but not least) sales management tip to take away is to fire (or help) your underachieving reps. If one of your team members is consistently underperforming and failing to meet their goals, your first step is to consider whether this person has shown enough promise in the role to justify keeping and helping them. If not, contact human resources and begin the termination process. 

5 Sales Management Tips: Help Your Reps Succeed

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  • Why the problem with most struggling sales teams is an ineffective sales leader
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Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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