Before you even go out on a joint sales call with one of your sales reps, expect them to answer these important questions:

Are we going to:

  • Meet with the decision-maker?
  • Have a preliminary meeting with an Influencer?
  • Qualify the buyer?
  • Present our solutions to a committee?
  • Negotiate the terms of the deal?
  • Close the deal today?

In other words, you need to define the objectives prior to the call. Once you do that, implement these these five guidelines from highly successful Sales Managers:

1. Define the roles prior to the call
What part will the Sales Manager play in the sales call? Will they only observe? Will they be an active participant? If so, how? Will they lead off and then turn it over to the sales rep or vice versa? Will the Sales Manager be there to close the sale or simply provide support for the sales rep?

2. Don't save every deal
Good Sales Managers know that saving every deal that starts to go bad on a sales call only creates dependency. This means more sales effort must be required of the Sales Manager and sales reps have less work, yet still get the rewards. This arrangement is bad for everyone. The Sales Manager becomes a sales rep and the sales rep becomes a secretary. Sometimes letting a sales rep lose a sale (under certain conditions) is the best way for them to learn.

3. Evaluate your rep against a "gold-standard" immediately after the call
Good Sales Managers always refer back to the sales process--the proper execution of a particular step or activity within a step. This reinforces to your sales rep that there is structure to professional selling. You're helping them become proficient as well as efficient. They can waste a lot of time and effort by not following a proven method for acquiring new sales.

4. Document your observations
Good Sales Managers objectively document the sales rep's performance in order to evaluate their progress over time. Making notes enables you to see the progress of your salespeople as you help to develop specific skills, because good Sales Managers know what it takes for exceptional salespeople to beat their competition.

5. Focus on only one or two skills to develop at a time
Good Sales Managers know that the human mind can only process so much information. After that, it's information overload and the person checks out. Therefore, they focus on just one big item or two smaller items to work on at a time. The Sales Manager knows that the short-term goal is competency and the longer-term goal is mastery.

Make the most of your time in the field observing your salespeople selling on the phone or face-to-face. Use these five strategies to identify the effectiveness of their execution and where they need development.