5 Core Competencies of Top Sales Managers

Posted: September 27, 2018

The keys to success as found by Objective Management Group and SalesStar.

In this post, we take a look at the massive findings of two Sales Bullpen partners: Objective Management Group and Sales Star.

Their combined research of more than 11,000 companies and 1 million salespeople has found some critical insights on the core competencies of elite sales leaders.

5 Core Competencies of Great Sales Leaders 

Great sales leaders maximize people, streamline and standardize processes, and create systems of consistency and accountability for their teams. 

You need a diverse set of skills to be an effective sales coach. Here are my top 5 core competencies of great sales leaders, taken from Objective Management Group CEO Dave Kurlan's own list here

Core Competency #1. Coaching 

According to Objective Management Group, sales managers need to spend at least half their time coaching to effectively lead their team. The downside: 97 percent fail to coach their people with such frequency. And just 7 percent of sales managers have necessary skills to be an effective coach.

Effective sales coaching requires consistent and effective touches with your team: one-on-one's, team meetings, pre and post-call debriefs, and daily check-ins.

Core Competency #2. Motivation

According to SalesStar research, 80 percent of a salesperson’s success comes down to mindset. Here are some great stats from Dave Kurlan breaking down how the top 10% of millennial sales reps stack up in their 'Will to Sell' on a 1 to 100 scale.

A motivated sales force is a prerequisite of a marquee, truly elite sales organization. There is no way around it. Sales managers who can consistently keep their sales team motivated give their company a supreme advantage over the competition. 

Moreover, according to data from Objective Management Group, "54% of salespeople were money-motivated during the 1990’s and first half of the 2000’s. However today [...] no more than 27 percent of salespeople are what the industry now call ‘extrinsically motivated’ (where the ‘carrot on the end of the stick’ works)." Check out our recent article on the 3 types of sales motivation for more insights.

Core Competency #3. Accountability

SaleStar CEO Paul O'Donahue nails it: sales team accountability starts with KPIs. "Start reviewing your KPIs at your weekly sales meetings. This is your opportunity to set out what your team’s goals are and what activities to focus on for the week."

"'Meetings should focus on some positive news and reviewing the week that was,' says Paul. 'This includes inspecting the KPIs, such as the number of discovery meetings, the number of proposal meetings and deals won. It should also inspect the pipeline of what’s coming up.' Later during your one-on-ones, you can check in on each salesperson to see how they’re tracking towards those KPIs and provide coaching on any issues they’re having."

The right sales KPIs keep your team accountable to the sales process you set before them, and are short-term, mid-term, and long-term in nature. Contact Sales Bullpen today to discuss your current KPI and accountability strategy and get a free, personalized evaluation.

Core Competency #4. Process

Your sales process is the foundation of your daily ground attack. According to SalesStar, a successful sales process:

  • Gives your team the right steps, in the correct order.
  • Is intuitive and memorable.
  • Considers the buyer’s journey.

Great sales leaders know how to map out a clear, effective sales process for their team. To perform an audit of your own sales process, check out the Sales Process Grader offered by the Objective Management Group.

Core Competency #5. Recruiting

A+ players coached to their maximum potential will always outperform C players coached to their maximum potential. Recruiting is the difference-maker, especially when 46 percent of new sales hires fail within the first 18 months on the job.

To dive deep on the subject of recruiting, I highly recommend Dave Kurlan's phenomenal 10-step plan to recruiting strong salespeople. I also encourage you to review the Modern Science of Salesperson Selection, a free eBook by Kurlan and his team.

Download the 9 Step Sales Process eBook

Ready to be a better sales leader? Download SalesStar's 9 Step Guide to Building an Effective Sales Process.

Want more? Get in touch with Craig and implement the following in your sales organization:

  • Sales Health Check
  • Sales Evaluations for deeper analysis
  • Sales Mindset coaching and training
  • Sales skills training 
  • Sales development modules
  • Sales management coaching
  • Sales person coaching
  • Sales recruitment

Thanks for reading the Bullpen Blog.

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