Is Your Boss the BottleNeck for Your Sales?

Michele Warg
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A sales manager is faced with two choices when a direct report seeks help with a customer or a problem. You can offer a quick solution and get back to the pressing work on your desk, or think through the problem thoroughly, empower your direct report by seeking input and make an informed decision that can save or maintain a sale. Seek out creative sales techniques to further the success of your representatives.

Use the opportunities you have as a sales manager to help your sales employees see their potential. Avoid getting in the way to prevent taking over or bottlenecking a sale. Instead, talk your employees through the process of how to interact with a client, calm down a frustrated customer and ultimately, close the sale. Your sales techniques and experience can be used on the job with your employees and be just as effective as they are with customers and clients, explains Keith Rosen with SalesForce.

You may, as a sales manager, want to solve problems for your employees, but part of the job involves serving as an example and counterpart in the sales industry. Acknowledge that you have the potential to lose a sale once in a while and help your employees learn from the mistakes you've made while analyzing their own mistakes. Managers who jump in and try to overpower the sale, adopt the client as their own or interfere constantly with the accounts of their representatives leave the company and the representative in a vulnerable state that can lead to a bottleneck in the sale or loss as a whole.

Teach representatives sales strategies that focus on examining the competitive landscape of your industry. Sales meetings should focus on your employees' opinions and knowledge of the market, the competition and successful sales techniques. Ask for their input on potential discounts, business capabilities, insight on customer data and value analysis. Your employees are on the front line, and as the sales manager, you have a responsibility to encourage them to take initiative, learn about the industry and improve their problem-solving abilities without your constant interference.

A sales manager also needs to support an open-door policy for employees to feel welcome when faced with questions or problems. You likely have a chaotic schedule and are managing multiple accounts and clients, but your role as a coach to sales representatives begs the need to listen. Seek out common questions your employees have and offer training to enhance their skills. Focus on sales strategies, communication and assertive practices that are in line with the company's mission and goals. You are the primary example for the team, so show you're willing to be a part of it as well.

A sales manager should serve as a help instead of a hindrance to sales employees. Offer support, encourage friendly competition and serve as a sounding board for representatives to solve problems with the support of management.

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