Better sales manager How to Become One

How to Become a Better Sales Manager with Charles Forsgard, #177

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Are you coaching your sales team or are you just making sure they hit quota?

According to my guest in this episode of The Modern Selling Podcast, sales leaders today have moved from providing sales coaching to reporting on numbers. And that is not helping sellers grow.

Listen to this interview with Charles Forsgard, the Vice President of Global Sales for Honeywell’s Advanced Sensors Technology business. In this role, he leads 300 salespeople, applications engineers, and managers delivering $850M in revenue. Prior to working at Honeywell, Charles spent three years at GE leading the Controls and Software sales team and twenty-six years at Schneider Electric in a variety of sales, marketing, and business management roles.

Charles is an avid customer advocate and is passionate about the evolution of the selling profession. He is a frequent speaker at events and on podcasts about selling and sales management. Charles was named as one of The Modern Sale Magazine’s Top 100 Global Sales Leaders in 2020 and is the author of the book, Stop Kidding Yourself: The way that you are managing your salespeople is not helping them.

Don’t miss this episode to learn how to become a better sales manager.

Spot on! #Sales Managers are spending too much time reporting up instead of enabling their salespeople. More on this topic on the @GoModernSelling #podcast w/ @M_3Jr and guest @CharlesForsgard of @Honeywell. #RevenueIntelligence @Gong_io Click To Tweet

Reporting vs Coaching

Charles says he wrote his book after realizing that he, as well as his friends and fellow sales managers, were spending too much time reporting up instead of enabling their salespeople.

“We’ve gone from the manager’s role as coach to the manager’s role as a reporter,” Charles says. “The salesperson’s view of their boss is, ‘Well I just got to make sure he gets the right numbers and he writes reports and he’ll go away and stop bothering me.’ You know, I used to be just so excited when I got time with my boss because that time was always incredibly valuable coaching time.”

Instead of just yelling at sellers for not hitting their numbers, sales leaders should sit with them and walk backward to figure out why they are not reaching their quota and helping them overcome any obstacles.

Unfortunately, many sales managers are often forced to focus on the wrong things.

Charles says that one of those things is revenue.

“There’s a whole series of things that come before revenue,” he says, “so as a sales manager, if you’re worried about revenue, depending on what your sales cycle is, you’re way too late because you are so far beyond the actions that the salesperson is taking.”

Great #sales managers help their reps focus on activities that move the deal forward. You have to tune on to this ep. of the @GoModernSelling #podcast with @M_3Jr and @CharlesForsgard of @Honeywell. #Gong #RevenueIntelligence @Gong_io Click To Tweet

Sales managers should focus instead on sales activities that move deals forward. For instance, if there is not enough sales pipeline, perhaps the sellers are not doing enough prospecting.

No matter the length of your sales cycle, you should be focusing on things like account plans, having enough customer meetings, deals created, pipeline and deal wins.

“If I want to get into what makes an effective sales organization, look at the ratio of how much time people are being proactive versus how much time they are being reactive. Salespeople always have to react to what the customer is saying, but the more proactive you are, you’re in control of what’s going on, not the environment, or your competition, or the customer. Make it about your planning, not about telling me what happened after the fact.”

Another mistake sales managers make is to use the CRM as a reporting tool and not a planning tool. Instead of encouraging their team to just log information into the CRM, they should use the CRM as a planning tool that will enable proactive selling by the sellers.

Listen to the entire episode to learn how they use the CRM for account planning at Honeywell and how you can do the same.

💯 Agree! @CharlesForsgard says #Sales Managers should make time for coaching their sellers! What does a #salescoaching session should be like? Find out on the @GoModernSelling #podcast w/ @M_3Jr. #Gong #RevenueIntelligence @Gong_io Click To Tweet

Selling: Art and Science

I like to say that selling is 49% art and 51% science. While the science has to do with the metrics and the numbers, the art is more about what sellers do every day. So how do you combine those two as a sales leader?

“If you focus too much on the science, too much on the numbers,” Charles says, “coaching is going to feel like an inspection. And I don’t know anybody that likes that weekly colonoscopy from their boss, right? That’s not what the intention is. But if you’re doing structured coaching right, they will know what you are going to be talking about because it’s consistent from week to week, and they feel like what they’re going to get in there is coaching, not going to get beat up because of something they’re doing wrong. They’re going to get good Socratic coaching, really drawing the answer out of them by the questions. That’s really where the art of the sales leader’s role is.”

To help your salespeople, you can ask really good questions after a sales call or visit:

  • What worked well?
  • What didn’t work so well?
  • Did we accomplish the goal that you wanted?
  • Did you have multiple options?
  • Will there be another way we could have done it? And why do you think that might be a good way?

Now with remote selling, sellers have more meetings than ever before. But they can’t be just back-to-back meetings — there needs to be time for debriefing and feedback.

Your sellers need validation, affirmation or simply they need to talk about the deals and get feedback, bounce ideas. Make time for coaching your sellers.

Thanks to tools like Gong, sales leaders can listen or read a transcript of sales calls and provide feedback to their sellers.

Listen to our conversation to learn the importance of planning visits and sales calls in a virtual environment, and much more, so you can become a better sales manager.


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