Everyone hates reporting to a micro-Sales-manager—those sales leaders and sales supervisors who watch a sales person’s every move and who always have a better way of doing something. But micro-managing is very appropriate in some cases—for example when an employee is brand new to a sales task or doesn’t know the clients or your sales processes or products they will sell. How can you, as a leader, provide people with the direction and support they need without seeming overbearing? Here are three tips:
Be clear on sales goals and tasks. Sales People need different levels of direction and support depending on the sales task they are facing. As a sales manager, your job is to clearly identify the tasks and goals a sales person has, and ensuring they have clarity.
Know your sales people. Most sales people, like all emplyees are good at some of their sales tasks and are still developing skills in others. A good sales manager tailor’s their direction based on what the sales person needs and their level of experience. For example, a salesperson might be great at booking appointments but not so great at using the new conferencing technology to demonstrate the product. A good sales manager will recognise the difference and trust the salesperson to book appointments their own way while at the same time using a more directed, hands-on managerial style, when it comes to using the new software.
Provide the right level of direction and support depending on the task. In this case, the sales manager needs to take a very hands-off approach when it comes to appointment setting, while at the same time using a very hands-on approach to learning and using the new software. As long as the manager uses the right style with each task, it won’t feel like micro-managing to the employee. It will just seem like active, helpful sales leadership.
Very few sales reps are total experts at all of their tasks these days. They also may lack belief, struggle with confidence and motivation and have skill gaps. Most people are masters at some skills and still learning in others. By adjusting our sales leadership style to fit the task at hand, managers can move their people to higher levels of performance without the danger of being labeled a micro manager.