What can a sales manager do to make their rep a superstar in the eyes of their customer? The answer is simple – play an effective role when they join them out on the road. A manager doing a joint sales call with one of their reps can either frustrate and undermine the rep or they can perfectly position them to succeed in front of the customer. Read on to learn how pre-call plans can help a manager contribute most effectively to the success of a joint sales call.
When EcSell Institute gathers feedback from reps in our Through the Eyes of the Team survey, one of their most consistent and loudest complaints is that their manager “takes over” when they ride along on a sales call.
Of course most sales managers aren’t taking over sales calls maliciously. Indeed, there may be moments when a manager’s more active role is completely necessary to rescue a rep on a sales call that isn’t going well. However, there are many times when this takeover of the call wouldn’t have been necessary if a pre-call plan, including clarity about the manager’s role on the call, was in place. Here are the keys to an effective pre-call plan:
- Define the role of the sales manager – In most cases, the sales manager will play one of three roles on a call – (1) lead, (2) support or (3) observe. Any of these roles may be the right fit given the particular customer, sales rep or purpose of the sales call. What’s important is to have clarity ahead of time to avoid frustrating the rep or confusing the customer.
- Communicate any logistical details – A sales manager can play a much more effective role when they know what to expect. Knowing who they’re meeting with, their title, purpose of the meeting, key issues with the account and even the appropriate attire can help ensure the manager is prepared, knowledgeable and ready to contribute in a meaningful way.
- Determine the customer’s desired outcome – As part of a pre-call plan, it is important to define the desired outcome. The key aspect of doing this well is defining the desired outcome not only for the company, but more importantly for the customer. When reps and sales managers approach sales calls with the customers’ needs, rather than their own needs, at top of mind, they are much more likely to reach an outcome that benefits both. As part of the pre-call plan, be sure to discuss the questions, ideas and information that both the rep and sales manager will focus upon to reach an outcome that helps the customer accomplish their goals.
By following these above tips to creating an effective pre-call plan with their rep, a sales manager can ensure they are setting up their rep for a joint sales call that exceeds the expectation of all parties involved.
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