We have, over the years, introduced a multi-step sales management process that helps managers or business owners achieve an organized and proactive approach to leading a sales team.
Step three of the process requires the manager to spend approximately one day per month in the field supporting and observing each sales rep, or sitting-in on phone calls with each inside sales/business development rep. Some managers will spend portions of days with various team members, and this is an acceptable alternative if done with sufficient frequency.
Either way, it is important for sales managers or leaders to observe and support sales people in the field, as the results are of exceptional value.
Here are 5 key ways in which sales managers and their organizations benefit from spending time in the field with sales team members:
- The practice provides managers with unique insight into each rep’s skill level, developmental needs, attitude and work ethic. Therefore, field observation days are a great source of input for team meeting or training session agendas; if the manager sees one rep having trouble with a specific aspect of the process, it is likely other reps are struggling in the same way addressing these real world challenges with the team can benefit everyone involved, and can also promote best-practice sharing.
- Field time enables managers to develop relationships with key contacts within key accounts, which can be significant in times of rep transition or turnover.
- Field time keeps sales managers in touch with the marketplace, and enables them to observe first-hand how customers or prospects respond to the company’s products, services, policies, programs and pricing.
- The practice keeps sales managers in touch with the sales process, and enables them to help reps more successfully close business.
- Field time and successful field support enhances a sales manager’s credibility with the team and with those to whom he/she reports!