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Sales Training Ideas for Sales Managers

As you’re entering into 2019 budgeting processes, it’s time to talk about how to allocate your training dollars. You’re probably reviewing an array of sales training ideas. But are you also considering training for Sales Managers? You should be.

Far too often, the emphasis in a Sales Manager role is on the “Sales” vs. the “Manager” aspect. That’s short-sighted. A Sales Manager, no matter how strong their selling skills, is just one person. Expecting that one person to be available as a mercenary closer or to fill in other sales gaps is foolhardy. It’s not a scalable solution. It doesn’t set you up for long-term success.

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Sales Training Ideas Are Useless Without A True Sales Manager

Sales Managers need to manage the enablement of sales-related work. They also need to lead people. Without training in non-selling skills, they will be ill-equipped to do this work.

Sales Managers need specific skills development to hire and retain sellers, to coach sellers for improved sales effectiveness, to create and sustain sales culture, and to understand how to maximize sales by pulling the appropriate sales productivity levers. They also need the same skills other managers do – soft skills related to communication, plus performance enhancement skills like setting expectations and giving feedback. 

Step #1: Recognize the Job Requirements

Sales Managers need to become people builders, strategists and change agents. Awareness of this need is a good first step. The next two steps are where the skepticism (and hope!) enter the picture.

Step #2: Commitment

Executing on Sales Manager training requires commitment. It’s not enough for Sales Managers to sit through a workshop. It isn’t adequate for them to adopt a new view of the CRM dashboard or to switch up a few performance metrics. Learning to truly develop people and manage a group to peak performance takes time, practice and on-the-job application.    

Step #3: Inspect What You Expect

Step 3: Reinforcing Sales Manager training requires Sales Directors and VPs to inspect what they expect. Behavior change doesn’t happen overnight. It can’t possibly happen if the newly taught behaviors are circumvented by misaligned processes and performance measures. Many a Sales Manager has scrapped the role of managing in a desperate attempt to make the numbers by reverting to being the team’s mercenary closer.

Long-Term Goals Vs. Short-Term Sales

Training Sales Managers to be managers and leaders sets an organization up for long-term success. It means, in some cases, that sacrificing some short-term results will be necessary. Companies that focus on sales manager training in 2019 will be more successful in 2020 and beyond than those who do not.

Oh, and back to sales training … If your Sales Managers are unable to coach and create a culture of people development, don’t bother. Without a solid foundation, sales training is a waste of time and money.   

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Topics: sales managers, sales training, role on a team

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