Training your reps, sure – but what about you?
  • sales
  • Blog post

Training your reps, sure – but what about you?

If you’re a wise and conscientious sales manager, you probably make sure your reps get regular, focused training in the skills they need. But how about yourself?

Data compiled by the sales consultancy Miller Heiman tells a surprising story. It suggests that sales managers may not in fact be getting the learning opportunities they need for optimum success.

According to the Miller Heiman data, fully 18.6% of organizations offer no training at all to sales managers. Another 36.4% invest no more than a total of $1,500 in training each sales manager.

Unequal amounts

Compare these figures with those for sales reps, as opposed to managers. Just 5.5% of organizations think they can get away with offering no learning opportunities to reps. And almost 45% invest up to $1,500 in training per rep.

In the more rarefied air of higher training budgets, sales managers fare little better compared with reps. While 26.7% of organizations invest between $1,501 and $2,500 in training reps, just 23.5% do so with managers. And right at the top of the heap, 10% of organizations pump more than $5,000 into training each rep while just 8.3% spend as much training managers.

Bad assumptions

Obviously, the total amount of “educational” spend is influenced by such factors as the company’s average sale value. There’s no single “right” amount of money to devote to training. But when organizations spend more on reps than on sales managers across the board, it’s fair to wonder whether something’s amiss.

Here’s the thing: Sales managers are usually people who have proven themselves in the sales arena. But does that mean they know everything they should? That seems to be the assumption some organizations make, and yet it’s not a good assumption at all.

The problem is that just having advanced selling skills doesn’t mean success as a manager of salespeople. Sales managers need a host of other competencies: Interpersonal communication, coaching, performance management, allocation of resources, interviewing and hiring, territory management, customer engagement and business development, to name a few.

Building a case

Are you confident that you’re the best you can be in every one of these fields?

If you’re not, and if your organization spends a lot more on coaching your reps than it does on you, you might want to start building a case for more specific managerial training.

After all, training money invested in you is going to have a leveraged impact that will affect not only your performance, but also that of every rep who reports to you, and every one of their prospects and customers.

Source: “Sales Managers: Overwhelmed and Underdeveloped: 2017 Sales Manager Enablement Report,” CSO Insights, the research division of Miller Heiman Group.


1 Comment

  • Your post is spot-on, Dave. I agree, even managers need proper training; aside from their expertise in selling, there are other skills that a manager need to develop. A well-trained manager establish relationship with his team, making them more engaged. A more engaged team will most likely reach their target goals.

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