The majority of salespeople enjoy their job and get a good deal of satisfaction (as well as the occasional bad day) from doing it well. Naturally this eventually leads many of them to want to progress to being in control and moving up to Sales Manager and higher. Unfortunately for many, this progression isn’t always the ‘promised land’ they had imagined.
The transition from sales person to manager means changing from directly controlling the sale to managing from a distance. No matter how much better they think they may be able to do it than the salesperson, they have to learn to help their salespeople do a better job, rather than do it for them. However this is only a small part of their job, much of which is involved with administration, management, reporting, recruitment, etc.
The majority of organizations now expect their sales managers to also do the sales coaching, which in theory should be a good fit, but all too few newly promoted managers have the time to do it effectively. How can the new manager use technology to address any shortcomings in their daily schedule?
Smart phones and tablets are now almost universally used by the majority of salespeople and provide them with access to huge amounts of both corporate and general information from the internet. A great many will have access to a CRM system that to a greater or lesser degree will track all the activity on the prospects account and often provide a dashboard that gives an overview of the current state of affairs.
Some of the better systems will provide the salesperson with tactical guidance and over-arching strategies to follow, but aren’t the same as coaching to improve their performance and creativity at specific points in the sales process.
For pretty much the same reasons this doesn’t give the sales manager the information he needs to coach the salesperson, although a few systems are becoming available that seek to mine coaching data from the CRM system and feed this back to both the salesperson and sales manager. For them both to get any benefit from this the salesperson has to make full use of the CRM system, which, for a variety of reasons has always been a problem for a lot of salespeople. Mostly it comes down to what’s in it for the salesperson. The amount of detail that has to be entered and the time needed, compared to what they receive in return, causes many salespeople to do just the minimum they can get away with.
What the salesperson wants is a system that needs the minimum of detail entered and which will guide them through the sale, giving them individual coaching and the support they need. The star performers would probably not use the system, relying on their own abilities, but the majority, the core of average performers, would find it invaluable as it is specifically for them.
This same interface would also be of immense benefit to the sales manager, as it would give them detailed feedback on the coaching being followed by each salesperson and allow them to intervene as and when they deemed necessary.
We have the technology to assist the sales manager, salesperson, coach and management. Whether we are using it in the right way is another matter.