7 Reasons Sales Managers Fail

Being a sales manager isn’t for everyone. You have to be able to manage a team of reps through good times and bad. You also have to be able to handle the pressure the C-suite puts on you to meet your team quota.

Not everyone is cut out for a managerial role. And not everyone is cut out for sales. Which means very few people can make it as a sales manager. (Although, sales managers using Spiro’s AI-Powered CRM will have a much greater chance of success than those who aren’t.)

But why do some people excel in sales management and others burn out quickly?

Here are the 7 main reasons why you may be failing as sales managers:

1. Sales managers fail when they’re fine with the status quo

Sales managers need to have the passion and determination to always be pushing their team towards success. If you find yourself okay with mediocrity and don’t have the drive to excel, then you are going to fail.

A successful manager needs to be viewed by the team as a strong leader. Reps will work extra hard for a manager that is always looking for ways to improve and drive them towards increased success. Status quo isn’t the way to go.

2. Sales managers fail when they don’t embrace their inner coach

A big part of any sales manager’s role is to train and coach their team. It takes time to get your reps up to speed and have them performing on pace. If you don’t see yourself as a trainer and coach, then you are bound to fail.

Successful sales managers see each rep as an investment for the company. Be patient and respectful of the onboarding process, and then continue to be a coach to your team. Sit in on calls, provide them with ongoing training, and just be there to answer any sales questions they may have.

3. Sales managers fail when they don’t set goals

Every sales team has a goal that is set by the company’s leaders. One way to fail as a manager is making the mistake of not breaking down that larger goal into smaller, more digestible pieces for yourself and your team.

To make your team quota seem more manageable, you have to set clearly defined goals for each rep, and yourself. If you want to close a certain number of deals per month, it will take measurable daily activity to get there: prospecting, calling, pitching, and following-up. Set smaller goals, and you’ll eventually get to the larger sum.

4. Sales managers fail when they don’t consider themselves “in sales”

Although sales managers aren’t on the phone all day calling prospects, don’t forget that you are still in sales. Having a “you” versus “me” attitude will create a divide among your team, and will lead to your failure.

Even though you don’t sell to customers, you are actually still selling to your reps. You need to sell them on the culture of the company, the quota you are trying to reach, and on the idea of yourself as their fearless leader. Salespeople are salespeople, management level or not.

5. Sales managers fail when they refuse to use technology

If you don’t want to find ways to make your reps the most productive, efficient, and effective salesforce they can be, then you will not succeed as a manager. Refusing to embrace technology is one sure way to fail yourself, and your team.

CRM, artificial intelligence, and other machine learning technology are helping shape the sales world. As a leader, you have to be the one to not only use new technologies available but also seek out solutions to help your reps close more deals. Working from static spreadsheets and manually entering data is just hindering your reps’ productivity. Embrace tech and be a forward-thinking leader.

6. Sales managers fail when they don’t know what their reps are doing

How can you manage if you don’t know what deals your reps are working on? The answer is, you can’t. Having little visibility into your team’s opportunities and daily activities will definitely set you up for failure as a sales manager.

Successful managers have to be on top of all the deals in their team’s pipeline. They also should be working to prioritize deals so their reps can focus on the most important ones they need to close to collectively hit your team’s quota.

7. Sales managers fail when they can’t figure out how to forecast

Being able to build out a pipeline and correctly forecast against it is an integral part of sales management. Forecasting helps company leaders make decisions on many aspects of company life, from budgets to bonuses, and beyond. A bad forecast is not only of no use but can show holes in your overall sales process. If you can’t figure out how to build out an accurate forecast, then you are sure to fail as a sales manager.

To build out a solid forecast, start with your quota, give each opportunity in your reps’ pipelines a priority ranking, and then move around deals to see how that will affect your goal. Use a smart CRM to help you organize your reps’ deals and make your forecast as accurate as it can be.


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