Written by Richard Perez | President, RP2 Consulting
Being a sales leader (CRO/Head of Sales) is hard and in many ways getting harder every day. Not just because the job is a bit daunting and the expectations are almost always high, but the complexity of the job is getting harder, the number of tools and processes you need to have as well as the amount of training you have to do are all growing exponentially.
We’ll talk about how to sift through the noise and complexity in another post soon, but one thing that I haven’t heard enough people talking about is one of the most critical elements of driving performance in a sales organization—effective managers. Let’s face it, no revenue leader can do their job alone. That is particularly true when you have a bench of managers that act as ‘span breakers’ in your organization to help with the development and management of your front-line sales reps. They are critical to your success.
You need them to coach, develop and manage your front line, to help implement your sales strategy and to hold people accountable. But do you know what type of managers you have and which type is most effective? If you don’t, you’ll want to read this HBR article published recently that was authored by researchers at Gartner as it really got my attention. They identify four types of managers and as you might expect, they define which one is most and least effective:
- Teacher Manager
- Always-on Manager
- Connector Manager
- Cheerleader Manager
Spoiler alert, the Cheerleader Manager is not the most effective of the bunch. While I won’t go in to all the details about the research (they do a much better job articulating their findings in the article than I ever could), it’s worth noting that understanding the characteristics of each type of manager is more important than you might think.
This is undoubtedly one of the most critical challenges and opportunities for sales leaders. But we all know it’s not the only challenge. You have dozens of different vendors hitting your inbox and your phone every day. “Social selling” experts are quick to tell you that cold calling is dead or that you need a dialer system (you probably do) or that you need the latest sales enablement platform or marketing automation platform. Oh, and lest I forget, the training, data/KPI and compensation vendors are coming out of the woodwork.
So what should you focus on? People? Process? Metrics? Technology? Training? Compensation? Hard to know for sure. A good honest assessment of what’s working well and what isn’t should be table stakes for any sales leader. We should always evaluate the entire portfolio. It’s a never-ending task.
Earlier this week, I had lunch with a good friend who is the CRO of a successful business services company who is as smart and capable as any sales leader I’ve ever known. Not surprisingly, she’s focused on the right things. But she has also seen a sharp rise in the volume of vendors, tools and options being thrown at her. Not surprisingly, she has done a fantastic job of getting her organization on the right path by focusing on the critical things to ensure the organization is growing at the rate they want (even beating expectations). But if you asked her, she’d tell you, it’s often an uphill battle and from my experience, I know that to be the case as well. But one thing I know for sure is that she and the other exceptional sales leaders are very focused on finding the best managers and giving them the latitude and resources to be successful.
Hopefully this HBR article will cause all sales leaders to step back and assess whether or not they have the right types of managers.
Before you go out and invest in a training resource or the next new technology, you should consider the type of managers you have on your team and their ability to help you succeed (in every aspect of the job).
The feedback I’ve heard so far from some of my colleagues about the article has been that of surprise. I’ll let you read it and see if you have the same reaction. Enjoy and let me know what you think!
Reposted from LinkedIn with permission.
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