The Most Powerful Sales Management Tool

Sales managers, particularly when they are new to a company or team, can end up with many priorities and many strategies that need to be implemented. It’s easy to fall into a whirlwind of stuff and miss what matters most – shaping and influencing individual salesperson or Account Executive performance.

The most powerful sales management tool is the quality conversation that takes place between the manager and the salesperson – once a week. And it needs to be seen not as a “conversation”, but as a tool for performance support and improvement. Done well, the one-on-one conversation doesn’t so much light a fire under a person; it lights a fire in them.

This one-on-one conversation is a deliberately designed journey that the manager uses to increase awareness about what drives personal productivity and what makes a salesperson valuable to prospects and clients. It reads as sales management, but over time, it’s the engine of sales leadership. 

Most conversations in “sales” are unproductive; they are loose, meandering and off-the-point, straying into non-sales issues. The most effective managers conduct productive conversations which have these hallmarks:

1 They are relatively short.  A one-on-one meeting can be 30-60 minutes, and as both parties tune into the agenda priorities, the meeting time can reduce.

2 A common language is used to describe, diagnose and strategize opportunities. Wise managers teach each salesperson how to tell a sales story, which requires fewer words than the stories we tell each other in social settings. 

3 Help is given around the recurring, difficult tasks and obstacles that is sales. Like discussing opportunity creation, conversation entry points, unearthing buyer concerns and invisible hurdles and stakeholders and creating valuable next steps for buyers. 

Wise managers teach each salesperson how to tell a sales story, which requires fewer words than the stories we tell each other in social settings. 

What a Salesperson-Manager Conversation is not

A salesperson and their manager interact daily, and sometimes hourly in the course of normal activity and work. While possibly necessary (often not), these are not the useful conversations. In fact, they substitute for a proper audit of opportunity creation activity and approaches, deal management, creating value for buyers and producing accurate forecasts. 

Today, the sales tool kit is getting ever bigger, but the quality, structured conversation that takes place once a week between a salesperson and their manager is the tool that will prove most valuable to all the parties, more powerful than all the technology you can assemble. It will show up in results, quickly. 

This one-on-one conversation is a deliberately designed journey that the manager uses to increase awareness about what drives personal productivity and what makes a salesperson valuable to prospects and clients. It reads as sales management, but over time, it’s the engine of sales leadership.