3 Steps For Founders To Become Better Sales Managers

Being a successful business owner or a CEO doesn’t automatically make you a great sales manager.

Of course, you know how to sell the heck out of your own stuff! You’ve been doing it successfully for years. But, for business continuity and growth, you’ll need to figure out a solution that allows you to effectively distill years and years worth of sales expertise and industry knowledge down to the rest of your sales organization. After all…you are your own best case study on how to sell your product or service successfully!

For owners and CEOs who are used to selling on their own but are starting to manage their own sales teams, the transition from a one-man-band to a full-fledged sales organization can come with some growing pains. Let’s talk about these common roadblocks and actionable tips to overcome these barriers based on years of my own personal experience. These organizational solutions will help your sales team become more effective and create a roadmap for new team members as your business continues to scale.

And don’t worry, it doesn’t involve a massive change or overhaul to your organization. In fact, you can implement these tips within the next three weeks of sales team meetings (and yes, you should be having a sales meeting every single week!).

ROAD BLOCK 1

You Are the Leading Expert of Your Own Business

The first roadblock for CEOs-turned-sales-managers is the reality that you can’t hire your own sales replacement. No one in the sales organization will ever be as good as you. As the founder, you fundamentally understand your business inside and out because you’ve lived and breathed it since its inception. When it comes to your sales organization and team members, it’s about managing expectations and knowing their knowledge will come with limits.

SOLUTION

Train Your Team to Identify Your Ideal Customer and The Problems They Are Experiencing

Hard truth time – it’s unrealistic to expect a new or non-seasoned salesperson to grasp the depth of knowledge and experience that you, as the business owner, bring to the table. But, you can teach your sales org members a series of steps to help each team member increase their sales knowledge and expertise over time. The first meeting with your sales team should be a discovery session to identify and answer:

Leading a discovery session allows you to impress upon your team who you want to target and, more importantly, what makes them a good target. Furthermore, by identifying their unique problems and solutions, we can start to develop conversations and anecdotes that will help your sales team members resolve customer problems and roadblocks in real time.

ROAD BLOCK 2

You Know All The Steps (But Your Team Doesn’t!)

It becomes second nature when you have been doing something for so long and so successfully. The different sales steps a new team member may have to learn and memorize are simple muscle memory to you. You have spent years honing your sales skills and actions into a very crisp, articulate message. You know exactly what questions to ask and when to ask them. And you deeply understand your current and prospective clients’ problems because you have worked side-by-side with them for years.

The problem? Your sales organization doesn’t live inside your head. It’s time to get actionable steps and messaging out of your brain and documented in a way that can be used as training materials for new hires and current employees.

SOLUTION

Document Actionable Steps and Define Exact Questions Your Salespeople Need to Be Asking

Knowledge and next steps that seem obvious to you may not be as clear to other sales organization members. By leveraging yourself as a mentor and expert, you can use your wealth of experience to train other team members properly.

In the second meeting with your sales organization, it’s time to dive deeply into the process and the specific questions your salespeople should be asking. This conversation creates another fantastic opportunity to draw on your personal and unique experience from years of previous interactions and conversations with customers. In this meeting, you should:

QUICK TIP

Always record your sales meetings! Keep it simple by recording the meeting on your phone, then use a free app that converts speech-to-text to create a digital transcription. This will save time and create a document that can be shared and stored for future use.

ROAD BLOCK 3

Only You Know All The Answers

Along with asking the right questions, as an owner or CEO, you’ve also experienced the right solutions. You’ve encountered every objection and every misunderstanding of your product or service and have learned how to address these potential concerns to help prospects and clients move forward. Selling within your own business, you’ve also gained an exceptional understanding of your competition and what makes your business stand above the rest. Years of tackling customer objections and providing solutions to problems have given you a heightened sense of confidence when handling issues, which may be lacking in new or inexperienced team members. Confidence can take a while to build, but providing sales team members with assurance through practice and factual knowledge can help them handle any situation with a sense of expertise and professionalism.

SOLUTION

Create a Documented Sales Dialogue on How Your Company Handles Specific Problems and Roadblocks

At this stage, you should have already had two meetings in which you 1) have identified your ideal customer and their roadblocks and 2) have defined the specific questions your sales team should be asking. It’s time to take both of these components and add the third and final piece – now that we know our targets and the questions we need to ask, how do we provide actionable solutions to their problems? In this meeting, you should be gathering, in detail:
People love a good anecdote. Provide your team with real examples of the specific problems your clients have encountered in the past and document how you provided a solution that resulted in success. Be as straightforward as possible! By giving concrete examples with detailed information, you are creating a story and a script that your entire sales team can use immediately when they talk with an existing or prospective customer.

Summary

In just three meetings, you can convey your knowledge and wisdom through organized steps. This will be of tremendous benefit to current and future members of your sales organization. Leverage being the expert of your own business, and invite those around you to participate and grow from the years of experience you bring to the table.

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