As a sales manager, you are going to make a lot of sales calls with your team. You need to make these calls valuable for the salesperson, for the client, and for yourself. Here are some ideas about how you can create value on sales calls.
Take the Call
Sometimes the sales manager creates the most value for the salesperson and for the client by making the call for the salesperson.
This is not the same thing as “buying a dog and barking yourself.” This isn’t your standard ride-along sales call. This is the more rare situation in which circumstances demand that the sales manager make the call for some other reason. It’s usually necessary when the salesperson lacks the experience, or because the call is complex and requires someone with more situational knowledge or credibility.
In any case, the roles should be discussed and agreed to ahead of time. But sometimes taking the call creates the most value.
Observe and Coach Later
It’s difficult for some sales managers to believe that the greatest value that they can create on some sales calls is to sit silently by and let their salesperson run their own sales call. We so want to add value to the client ourselves. But that isn’t always the right outcome, and the client isn’t always the target of your value creation.
As a sales manager, your not supposed to sit there doing nothing on a ride-along anyway. You are supposed to be engaged in helping your salesperson by discovering what they do well, what they might improve, and what they might stop doing. All of this coaching is supposed to occur later, after the call is over, not by your demonstrating it during the call.
You create value for the salesperson by notching them up and building their trust. You create value for yourself by building a better salesperson.
Demonstrate Your Company’s Commitment
Sometimes your dream client needs to see some evidence that your company is committed to their account and to their success. The larger the prospective client, the more it may be important to engage people higher up on your organizational chart in the sales call, the sales manager being one of them.
Your presence can demonstrate your company’s commitment. You can make a simple statement at the end of the call as to how important the dream client’s account is to the company and ensure them that they will have what they need to succeed. It’s short, it’s simple, and if it seems like too little value creation, refer to number two above.
You create value for the client by demonstrating your commitment. You create value for the salesperson by giving the client the confidence that the salesperson may not have been able to. And you create value for yourself by helping to ensure you win the dream client.
Promise to Provide the Resources, Exceptions
Sometimes the best value that a sales manager can provide on a sales call is a promise to provide additional resources that the client will need, or to provide exceptions to what is the normal practice. You show up, negotiate some exception or some additional resources, and you leave the rest of the call to the salesperson.
You create value for all parties by removing an obstacle to a deal.
Handle Only the Really Difficult Parts
Sometimes the value that needs to be created for the client is around a difficult or complex issue. Often the sales manager will have more experience than their sales team in dealing with issues, and they will normally have the greater depth of understanding, the business acumen, and the emotional intelligence to handle it. The deep technical stuff sometimes falls into this category, because it takes time to acquire this kind of situational knowledge.
But it’s best if the salesperson does all of the part of the calls that they can, so that they retain their status as a value creator, passing only the difficult part to their manager. To retain that value creator status, the sales manager should pass the call back to their salesperson after they have addressed the difficult or complex issue.
Here are some questions to help guide your thinking about how you create value on a sales call as a sales manager.
If you are taking the sales call for the salesperson, is it because you are best equipped to create value? What does the salesperson lack and what should they learn from observing you?
How do you introduce yourself to the client when you intend to stay completely out of the sales call?
When is it necessary for you to attend a sales call to demonstrate the company’s commitment to the account?
How do you take the parts of the call that you need to and hand the rest of the call back to the salesperson? Why is it important to do so?
Subscribe to my weekly podcast In the Arena.