Put the Power in the First-line
- by Elay Cohen
- March 31, 2014
- Sales Skills
SalesHood - Sales Enablement Platform
Sales managers are looking for ways to better impact their salespeople and their customers with their personal touch. Isn’t every salesperson different and every customer scena rio unique, too? Sales managers and their teams are at the pulse of what the customer needs. They have the local relationships, and they drive the innovation, marketing, and education on behalf of the company. They are the evangelists— they do a lot of the work. They need to be able to apply resources to their customers and deals in real time.
First-line sales managers need to operate under the construct of the company’s business goals while also acting like CEOs in their own right, personalizing their unique markets to their realities. These sales managers must be truly empowered to affect all areas of the business, including but not limited to hiring, marketing, and training.
The growth of sales manager empowerment is there and ready to be tapped into; sales teams are ready to be inspired to do great things.
The best first-line sales managers take control of all aspects of their business. For example, they own customer relationships and customer success; they are responsible for pipeline health.
Many will agree that the most important link in the chain is the first-line sales manager. But what folks don’t talk about as much is how to actually enable the first-line sales manager to be a true CEO of his or her business. They don’t talk much about how the first- line sales manager needs to run every part of the operation, including planning, motivating, and executing, with budget authority that maps to his or her business contribution. All too often, these functions are relegated to headquarters.
The most successful sales managers are the ones who take matters into their own hands. They take ownership of their customer relationships, business planning, and team prioritization. These sales managers ask for budgets or find creative methods, such as leveraging relationships with partners, to fund their own marketing events with customers in order to build demand. These sales managers host breakfasts and dinners to keep connections alive and to nourish their local network. As with mayors, successful sales managers know that budgets and funding play a major role in driving successful programs that add value to customers—or, in mayor-speak, the constituents.
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Elay Cohen is the author of SalesHood: How Winning Sales Managers Inspire Sales Teams to Succeed and the co-founder of SalesHood, a SaaS sales enablement platform and community for sales professionals. Elay is the former Senior Vice President of Sales Productivity at Salesforce. Recognized as the company's "2011 Top Executive", and credited for creating and executing all of Salesforce's sales productivity programs that accelerated its growth from $300M to $3B+ in revenue. The sales training and sales support innovations delivered over these years by Elay and his team to thousands of sales reps resulted in unprecedented hypergrowth. He also created the Partner Relationship Management (PRM) category.
Based on my experience leading Sales Productivity at Salesforce, accelerating revenue from $300M to $3B, we’ve packaged our proven methodology into SalesHood, helping client after client achieve record breaking revenue growth.