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Episode · 5 years ago
Best Practices for Enabling Your Front-Line Managers
ABOUT THIS EPISODE
Hello, I'm Rachel Clap Miller. Thank you for joining us for this latest podcast, which we are focusing on the manager. John Kaplan joins me now. Hi John, Good Morning Rachel. How are you great? Well, John, we often say we can tell how successful a client is going to be at driving sales effectiveness, driving a sales initiative by how well they're equipping their front line managers. And unfortunately, I think this is a point that we often see overlooked by many sales organizations. Why is that? Why? I think it's because most development is always focused at the you know, at the sales rep level or at the organizational level, you know as a whole. You know, if development occurs, it normally is a broad brush around, you know, across the entire sales organization. So let's walk through some key components to creating great frontline managers. I think first we probably need to take a step back and understand what they're dealing with every day. It's not an easy gig. No, it's really not. I actually think the frontline sales manager role is the toughest role in all of selling, you because everything...
...goes through that frontline manager. When you think about it, there's pipeline development, there's a count and territory management, there's opportunity management, there's forecasting the there's customer retention and success, there's hiring and development, and I could just go on and on and on. It's a massive amount of activity and things that that that person has to manage. So when we think about all that activity, I've heard you say this many times, sales managers need a cadence to manage all that. And once will we talk about in command of the plan is the management operating rhythm. I've heard you talk about this many times, because that, MR gives managers that cadence to follow. Yeah, I'm a big fan on keeping it simple. At the end of the day, any great sales leader has to have command of two main things, command of your plan and command of your people, and the company should help them create a cadence around these two things, you know, which lead to predictable success.
You know, we call this cadence a management operating rhythm, and this management operating rhythm should focus on the highest value activities that the managers and reps can focus on together and then measure and inspect the activities and make sure that this measurement and expection are very clear and that cadence helps at that manager level and the any individual level from that connection that you just talked about. But it also really drives consistency across the organization. That can't be overlooked, no, it can't. You know, when everyone's using the same management operating rhythm, everyone knows the benchmarks they need to create for success, your frontline managers are less burdened by flavor of the day activities thought up by, you know, you're senior management team, for example. You know, I've seen a lot of great senior executives inside of companies and they'll read, you know, the latest and greatest book on something on sales execution or on customer intimacy or whatever it is, and then they kind of drive that down into the selling...
...organization and expect the managers to just kind of implement things from a book. So I always encourage senior level managers and executives. I always ask them the very simple questions whenever they want to put something else onto a sales organization and make them answer these questions. What problems are we trying to solve for the sales force? What are the critical activities and how are they going to measure them and what tools and processes are we going to use to support the organizations? You know, we have to try to avoid putting more stuff on their plate. I call it trying to stuff ten pounds into a five pound bag. So great analogy. And I think one of the other frontline manager best practice that we stress with our clients is to really make sure you're involving their perspective in your initiatives, and the way I think of think about this is to let things happen with them instead of to them. Yeah, I like...
...the way you say that, because we have a saying that says built for you, by you, and it's not something that's being done to you, but it is being done for you and with you. You got to give your frontline managers the power and influence they need to succeed. People are effective leaders when they're mostionally connected to their initiatives. We got to enable them to lead their teams by helping them to be effective change agents. So we can't force new programs on them. Instead, we need to involve them in the creation of any initiatives that are directly related to their teams. They'll be more willing to drive it with their own teams, if they had to say, in its development. Putting this focus on the managers, I would think, makes you more and more expected sales leader, because you're driving ownership and accountability throughout your organization, and there's also some empowerment there that helps foster success. Yeah, you know, great sales leaders are not looking for scripts, they're looking for compasses, like navigational AIDS and tools. You know, as a...
...company, when you do find great pathways to success, build a cadence around it, and this cadence should make it easier for the selling organization to execute and manage. John for the bottom line. What's the three things that sales executives can do to build a great team of managers? Good? So sales leader should have command of two things, command of their plan and command of their people, or commanded their talent, as you've heard from us before. As a company, you need to create a cadence that leads to success around these two main topics, with critical activities and measurements that lead to success. And then the last thing for the company avoid the temptation to put ten pounds of stuff in a five pound bag. If you can't get your Mor or management operating rhythm on one page, do it over until you can. That's great, great advice. Don't apply the broad stroke. Try to find that cadence. Thanks so much, John, for hashing this out with me today.
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