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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