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June 2012
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TD Magazine

The Neglected Sales Manager

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Editors Note June 2012

Paula
If you have a sales team in your company, then this issue of T+D is for you. From onboarding young sales reps to finding the perfect training for critical sales managers, this issue has the best practices youâ'll need to give your sales team a clear path to success.

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When planning training for your sales team, do you focus on the salespeople or the sales manager? If it's the former of the two, then you are not alone. As you will read in two of the features in this month's issue, few companies focus on giving individualized training to sales managers, and this neglected group is critical to company sales.

"There has not been an overwhelming demand for sales manager training," writes Michelle Vazzana and Jason Jordan in the cover article on page 36. "Historically, the strategy has been to improve salesperson performance by improving salesperson skills.â"

But, as Vazzana and Jordan stress in their article, there is no one-size-fits-all training program for sales managers. Sales managers have different roles, responsibilities, and salespeople, but that shouldn't stop training professionals from giving them the development they need to help their salespeople succeed because, as Vazzana and Jordan note early in their article, "if you train one manager, you improve his entire team."

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According to Sam Reese and Joe Galvin, data from the 2012 Miller Heiman Sales Best Practices Study show that "the focus for frontline sales managers in 2012 will be to orchestrate change. As companies look to define and execute on their growth plans, the role of sales managers is to drive the action necessary to achieve results." This will be dependent on a manager's coaching and leadership, two of the many skills that should be part of any sales management training course.

So the next time you create a training strategy for the sales team, make sure that specific training for the team's leaders is a part of it. Too much emphasis is focused on improving the skills of salespeople; don't forget those sellers' leaders, the ones who create the sales strategy.

About the Author

Paula Ketter is ATD's content strategist. Previously, she served as editor of ATD's periodicals.

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