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Top-Shelf Tip No. 218:

"Leadership is not wielding authority – it’s empowering people."

Becky Brodin

Three Tips To Empower Sales Managers

When you bring on new sales reps, it takes time for them to get up to speed. Research from The Bridge Group reveals that it takes about three months for sales professionals to get their footing. However, most talented salespeople only stay in their roles for 18 months, meaning they don't have much time to get their feet wet before moving up the ranks.

Rhett Power, CEO of Power Coaching and Consulting, says with so little on-the-job experience, these sales leaders aren't equipped to help their teams find and convert prospects let alone retain, cross-sell and upsell clients. When sales managers don't have the knowledge to lead others, sales reps won't meet their goals—and the entire sales organization suffers.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we discuss Power's thoughts on why sales leadership training must be a bigger priority. Read on for his three tips to empower sales managers.

1. Start with personal strengths. Power urges leaders to avoid a cookie-cutter training approach. Instead, identify sales managers' core strengths using a competency assessment tool. These insights will help you tailor strengths to specific roles, teamwork functions and collaboration opportunities. Based upon a sales executive's existing knowledge and potential, you can create a personalized development track that includes a specific mix of workshops, on-the-job learning, videos and more.

2. Develop sales coaches, not bosses. Today's best sales leaders adopt more of a teaching style, rather than authoritarian rule, says Power. Encourage sales leaders to see themselves as coaches who eschew yelling and berating in favor of encouragement, guidance and patience. Although some coaches seem to be born, most need to undergo a significant amount of training to reach a high level of ability. Be sure to offer every sales leader tools and resources to apply what they learn.

3. Set up formal sales leader mentoring. It can be tough for a sales leader to know where to turn with questions. That's where a formal mentoring program can come into play. As part of your development process, pair the sales manager with at least one other colleague who can become a mentor. Don't just assume, however, that this mentoring will happen on its own. Instead, outline expectations for how often mentors and mentees should meet and suggest topics for them to discuss. Furthermore, feel free to assign different mentors to one sales manager. Not only will having a few go-to peers help the new leader, but it will expand that person's network. You may even want to set up a robust online board where mentees can make inquiries and get advice, and mentors can post videos of themselves responding to the questions they get asked most often.

According to Power, sales managers are your key to hitting quarterly objectives and reducing sales staff turnover. Put hours and dollars into making sure all selling professionals in your organization are set up to do their best work and feel satisfied at the end of every day.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Rhett Power, named 2018 Best Small Business Coach in the U.S., is the CEO of Power Coaching and Consulting. His best-selling book, The Entrepreneur's Book of Actions features daily exercises for becoming wealthier, smarter and more successful.

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