I’m sure you will agree with me on this one: challenges sales managers face are some of the biggest within a company, no matter the industry. In most cases, they are handling reps and strategies, aside from their regular sales functions management, which can be a bit overwhelming.
Businesses are becoming increasingly dynamic and evolve at a ridiculously fast pace, meaning that the sales professionals who actually can take a step back and assess all the challenges they’re facing are just a few.
But still, you can do it. How? By being aware of and identifying the most common challenges most sales managers deal with. The main effect: you become more effective in your role and provide a better overall direction for the entire team.
This article is part of a series of role-focused articles. We’ve also covered problems encountered by CISOs, as well as bid managers. Follow us on Social Media channels to stay up to date with industry news and insider tips.
Common challenges faced by sales managers
1. Finding the right people
Probably one of the most difficult tasks a sales manager faces is to find skilled sales representatives, offer them all the information they need, then oversee them ‘in action’.
The sales manager evaluates a candidate based on both the company’s products and services, trying to identify those ideal features needed for the position.
2. Training and coaching reps
If you already have the right team in place, you need to make sure that they will deliver the results your superiors expect. As a sales manager, it is your job to provide sales reps with training and coaching.
Considering that most of your day consists of setting goals and targets, analyzing data and reviewing sales numbers, finding the time and resources to do this can be a tricky task.
3. Finding compensation solutions for employees
There are situations in which the employee retention rate is strongly related to the compensation they receive. Therefore, it’s recommended to maintain satisfaction among employees, even though some managers consider this a big challenge.
The solution for this is relatively simple, however: implementing a well-structured reward and recognition program, making sure it remains unbiased and healthy.
4. Keeping your team motivated
The main problem here is that you can’t just take a collective approach when you feel that your sales reps need some extra motivation. What motivates one rep and makes them happy doesn’t necessarily work for everybody. Every rep is unique in this sense.
A sales manager needs to get to know the entire team on an individual level, by understanding what motivates each representative, but also the team, as a whole, in order to help them perform.
Coaching sessions, both individually and in a group, can help you understand the team and how to reward good performance.
5. Maintaining consistency
Sometimes, you will be tempted to treat some sales reps differently, based on how much you trust them or how well you get along with them. Some top sellers may even get away with not following company-established selling methods and relying on theirs instead.
This might not seem like a problem at first, but in time, other sales reps will notice. They might complain that they are treated differently, and become frustrated. Avoid this by maintaining consistency in your relationship with the entire team and don’t make any differences at all.
6. Aligning with your marketing department
We know this can be difficult for a sales team. Still, it is a crucial aspect for the success of your company.
A sales manager should schedule regular meetings with the marketing department and tackle selling together. Each member of the team should have clear tasks, in order to improve their numbers. And after all, a great relationship between sales and marketing can go a long way, resulting in a pipeline consistently full of high-quality leads.
There are a lot of challenges sales managers deal with every day. If you are one of them, you will most likely recognize at least one of the situations presented above. The good news is you can overcome all of them.
Obviously, the first step is to identify the challenges within your company and then address them, through coaching and training sessions. Don’t forget about working on your personal challenges and working to improve your managerial skills. You will eventually see that this will also have great effects on your sales team, helping them progress, through better management and guidance.
Do you see a pattern here, a common solution to a lot of sales managers’ challenges?
The answer is ‘coaching’. Practices like encouraging independence, setting good examples and providing effective training, should be made a priority in any sales department. As a manager, you should focus on serving the salespeople on your team and giving them the right tools – including training and mentoring – then watch them succeed.