The Number One Thing a Sales Manager Can Do to Help Salespeople Succeed

You’re a good sales manager. You’ve been in the industry for a while, so you know the market and the products. Furthermore, you have a team of experienced salespeople. They have solid relationships with their customers.

You spend time with your salespeople individually and you run weekly sales meetings. In addition to product training, your company provides industry specific sales training.

The economy is booming, but your sales numbers are disappointing. Your share of market is stagnant at best. What the heck is going on? Why aren’t your people selling more? Are you missing something? Is there something else you need to do?

Consider the following.

First, you’ve got the basics covered. You’re doing all the right stuff to manage your sales team. You’re working your butt off. You’re setting expectations for numbers and distribution. You’re providing your salespeople with all the tools they could ever need. 

So, why aren’t the results better?

The answer is in the hidden stuff, in the blocks and distractions not readily apparent. Let’s assume you bring in an outside company to do some sales training. Depending on the experience of the individual salesperson, your people will be introduced to new tools, or reminded of tools they already know but aren’t using.

Your people get all fired up. At the end of the training, they return to their territories, excited, ready to kick ass and grow their sales.

Here’s the problem. Life happens. Things crop up and their attention is diverted. They get busy putting out fires and their plans get pushed aside. 

“84% of all training is lost within 90 days.”

Here’s a recent example from my business: I have a timetable for specific activities … account servicing, prospecting, administration and planning, etc., etc. Last week I hurt my back. Not anything major, but enough to cause constant pain. Between the discomfort, ice packs and trips to the chiropractor, I’ve been finding it difficult to focus. As a result, I’m way behind. Not the end of the world, but it’s an example of how life interferes with our plans.

Here’s the good news for you as a sales manager. Stuff will happen. There’s not much you can do about it. What you can, and must do, is get your salespeople back on track as quickly as possible. Your salespeople will get sidetracked. They’ll focus on the most pressing pain, on the stuff that’s demanding their immediate attention.

“The squeaky wheel gets the oil.”

Your job is to get them back on track. You must keep them focused on what they need to do to achieve their sales goals. Don’t feel too bad if you’re not doing this right now. You’re not alone. Even the best sales leaders get distracted. 

Studies have shown that over 50% of all sales managers are too busy to hold their salespeople accountable. Too busy doing what? In my opinion, nothing is more important than helping your salespeople succeed. Here are a few more statistics on the power of sales management coaching and intervention:

Sales Training Learning Retention Statistics

  • 10% of learners will transfer new skills into practice as a result of theory.

  • 15% will transfer new skills into practice as a result of theory and demonstration.

  • 25% will transfer new skills into practice as a result of theory, demonstration and practice.

  • 40% will transfer new skills into practice as a result of theory, demonstration, practice and feedback.

  • 90%+ will transfer new skills into practice as a result of theory, demonstration, practice, feedback and on-going coaching.

  • Jim Stuckey Training and Consultancy

Those are mind boggling statistics that clearly illustrate the results you can achieve when you spend quality time with your people.

This is an easy process to put into place. Once you start doing it, you will begin to see results very quickly. Maybe you’ll get a little resistance initially, but once your people start seeing the results, and the added income, that will disappear. 

I’m Oliver Connolly and I help sales managers build a sales force that makes quota. Contact me at to see if I can help you.

Check out my website for some FREE STUFF on sales and sales management.

Oliver Connolly