Managing managers is still pretty new to me. I’ve been thinking a lot about what great looks like. And not just for them, but for me so I can support and serve them in the work they do with their teams. There is a lot to ruminate on here, and I’m really just getting started. It’s mostly in my head at this point, something this post is helping change. The question that swirls: What type of training is required for a sales manager?
Training managers is not the same
I’ve been so focused on sales training techniques for the individual contributor for so long. I haven’t stopped to think about the sales management training that has been impactful to me. A lot of what I’ve used and liked as a manager is honestly content that I learned in sales training courses and executed on as an individual contributor. Frankly though, most of what’s been most helpful to me as a manager has come through experiences, not necessarily formal training I’ve been provided or sought out. There’s definitely been some, so I’ve essentially cobbled together what I need for my current role. And I think that’s how it should be. Formal training plus experience equals a recipe for success, right?
But I’d be lying if I think it should stop there. Here are some questions I’m asking myself as I write: Should I use free online courses? Create my own? Should I fall back to the management sections of sales training programs I’ve used in the past? Will those do the trick? Is there some sort of certified sales leadership professional that I should be leaning on? There’s probably no shortage of sales management courses online that are available, countless types of sales training programs that are out there. Where do I even start?
Again, lots to consider. And I’m just getting the ball rolling on this and learning what it looks like to manage sales managers.
One thing I keep coming back to is that there are a few tried-and-true sales management training topics that everyone should start with. Here are the three that I know are vital:
1. People Management
As much as we develop, train on, and support processes and drill into metrics, it’s the people that need to be highlighted. Unless your product is a quick credit card on your website, focusing on your team, their motivators, their lives, and their development must be your number one priority as a great sales manager.
2. Performance Coaching
Individual contributors, like SDRs and AEs, are driven by winning, in most cases. Supporting their efforts in driving wins is critical to their success and happiness. The way you go about this can be the difference between a great coach and a mediocre one.
3. Personal and Professional Development Coaching
Identify the skills that are critical to success in a role, define what great looks like in those skills, tie metrics to drive them, and create individualized coaching plans to support them. This is the challenging (but less challenging with Lessonly Skills) way to develop your teammates. So often this is missed in favor of pushing activity, highlighting metrics, etc. Build the plan together. Create a cadence. Stick to the plan. Watch skills improve.
I’m thankful as a leader that I don’t have to navigate this management on my own. I have a couple of starting points for my questions on managing managers, namely through Sales Assembly and Revenue Collective.
So, when you think of sales management training, what am I missing? What’s worked for you? I’d love to hear about anything that has moved mountains for you. Drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org or on LinkedIn if you’ve made it this far, and let’s chat!
Sales managers, welcome to the end of so-so enablement 🙌
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