When you think of sales enablement, you probably think about supporting reps, boosting sales productivity and increasing positive business outcomes. After all, sales enablement is all about supporting the reps, right? Well, yes – but not entirely.
What many sales organizations don’t realize is that sales managers need enablement, too. That doesn’t mean they just need a few development resources. Managers need to be prepared to support reps effectively and provide training and coaching that will help the organization succeed.
A new report from CSO Insights, Sales Managers: Overwhelmed and Underdeveloped, found that organizations invest more in salespeople than sales managers. In fact, last year 19% of companies did not make any training investments for sales managers.
If you’re a sales enablement professional, here are 3 takeaways from the CSO Insights report that you’ll need to jumpstart your sales manager enablement strategy.
#1. Sales manager enablement is just as important as rep enablement
CSO Insights found that the sales enablement function grew 14% over the last 3 years, yet only one-third of respondents said their sales enablement initiatives met or exceeded their expectations. In other words, while investment in sales enablement is on the rise (which is good!), the execution is still lacking. A possible explanation: a lack of sales manager enablement across organizations.
The sales enablement department should lead the charge in developing a sales manager enablement program. Sales manager enablement can be integrated into current and future sales enablement strategies, but it should adhere to the specific challenges for sales managers in the areas of customers, people and the business.
For managers, effective coaching is obviously a key goal, so an enablement strategy should include defined coaching processes and technology to support it. At the same time CSO Insights cautions that sales manager enablement should go beyond coaching– it should include additional training and coaching services for managers, such as guidelines and playbooks..
#2 Enabling managers will lead to better sales performance
Sales manager enablement doesn’t just benefit the relationship between managers and reps; it also helps the sales organization and the broader company. CSO Insights found that sales manager development has a direct correlation to better quota attainment, revenue plan attainment and win rates.
For example, the report shows that companies who invest less than $500 versus over $5,000 in sales manager development obtain 11.5% better win rates. But beyond the improved metrics, sales manager enablement is something organizations can’t afford to ignore. The report also states that sales manager enablement is the surest path to success for companies that are looking to transform their sales organizations.
#3 Technology is a driver of sales manager enablement
According to the report, 70% of respondents said manager-led coaching was their method for reinforcing training material with reps. However, manager-led coaching can often be very time-consuming, especially with a large and dispersed sales force.
We’ve found that sales readiness and coaching technology can make the lives of sales managers much easier by streamlining and simplifying the process. Coaching becomes more scalable and efficient if managers use video-based coaching technology. Not only can they virtually send out coaching challenges without having to schedule meetings or phone calls, but they can evaluate reps, distribute feedback and compile best practices seamlessly. Managers can also conduct what CSO Insights refers to as ‘coaching-by-exception,’ which can help them identify when they need to allocate more time and attention to individual reps.
To learn more about sales manager enablement, check out CSO Insights’ report, Sales Managers: Overwhelmed and Underdeveloped.