Your Sales Manager is a TOOL

There is a big difference between being a salesperson and being a person in sales. What actually makes you a salesperson instead of just a person in sales? You CLOSE deals.

A true salesperson does what needs to be done to get the deal done. Sometimes that means sweetening the offer. Sometimes it means dropping the price. Sometimes it means explaining the benefits better, or comparing yourself against the alternatives. But a good salesperson always figures out whats holding up a deal and then looks for ways to overcome that obstacle/objection and get the deal done.

However, very few salespeople can achieve and crush their quotas without the use of tools. The tools in a salespersons bag include the obvious: the cell phone, the laptop, the iPad, Blackberry, the nice suit, business cards, etc. There are also the increasingly important software tools like, Hoovers, Jigsaw, etc. As a sales manager, part of my job is to use these tools to make sure that the sales PEOPLE use these tools to get more sales! To track progress – to uncover deals slipping away – to help lagging salespeople.

One of the more frustrating conversations that I have with salespeople is over important deals (or ANY deal) on the one yard line that is not closing quickly – and I’m not part of the process. The BEST salespeople that I have ever worked for come to ME first when a deal is slipping away or stuck or otherwise. These sales people know that their sales manager is the best and one of the most important tools that they have in their bag of tools.

Salespeople have egos which are sometimes too big – we can all agree on this – but there is NO shame in getting your sales manager to help out. THAT IS HIS/HER JOB!  I see too many salespeople try to close the deal 100% themseleves because somehow doing that makes them feel better about their progress.  I say, doesn’t getting the commission check feel better?  Too many salespeople try to work around the salesmanager and then look like a hero because they brought in the big deal alone.

In reality…who gets the biggest praise from the sales manager?  The salesperson who closes the most deals!  And… the salespeople that close the most deals make the best use of EVERY resource placed in front of them.  And this includes the sales manager.  Sales people and Sales Managers are aligned in compensation

At the pipeline calls each week, I will review and try to find these deals that I should be helping out with, and force myself into the deal.  Force the salesperson to get me on the phone, or send an email, or call the gatekeepers boss, or whatever needs to be done.  Yet, I hate having to force myself into the deal.  This salesperson should be reaching out to me at every turn to have me help close the deals – or move them along.

One of the best salespeople that I have dealt with is the master of this.  She calls and emails me several times a week with tasks for me.  She will email me with precise details of who she wants me to send an email to and, if she hasn’t supplied me the exact words, she will give me an overview of what she wants my email to say.  I will oblige and help her move the deal along.  She will also give me a call list.  This list will be VP’s or otherwise that she needs me to call as the grey hair and move the deal along.  She will give me a synopsis of what has been happening on the deal since my last interaction and how she thinks this move will help it.  Sometimes she isn’t sure how I can help, and we discuss if I can and what the right move is.  Sometimes she just calls me and asks me what my opinion is on how to move a deal forward and if she is doing is correctly.

Wow… she uses me, her sales manager, quite a bit.  Is she weak?  Is she untalented?  NO.  She is the opposite.  She is hands down one of the BEST salespeople I have ever worked with – and she makes and breaks her quota consistently.

What has she figured out?  She has figured out that her sales manager (and for that matter ALL of her senior management) are tools that she can use at her disposal to close deals.

Once you figure this out – and get over your own ego – you will close more deals.

Use your sales manager.  He/she is one of the best and underused tools.

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