Thanks to Tab Norris for his input on this article!
When has a field sales manager succeeded? Is it when their salespeople have met their quotas?
At ASLAN we think that sales managers play a much more critical and complex role. Effective sales management is about much more than just helping your team hit their numbers. To break through and become a truly effective sales leader, a comprehensive field sales management training program is vital.
A sales manager is responsible for understanding their salespeople’s personalities, strengths, weaknesses, and motivations to get the absolute best out of them—and teach them how to get the best out of themselves. When it comes to field sales, where salespeople go off into the big wide world, skilled, experienced leadership is even more essential.
With the right training, your field sales managers can develop the skills to do more than run effective sales meetings or plan and execute territory plans. The best field sales management training will teach them how to master being a true leader and build a winning team.
Field Sales vs. Other Types of Sales
Field sales is all about face-to-face interactions with clients in their environment. This is in contrast to inside sales (where everything is done over the phone or at a desk) or hybrid/virtual sales (where part of the time is spent in the office/on Zoom/on the phone/via email, with some field work).
Field sales require a different skill set from other types of sales. As a field sales representative or manager, you have to be able to build relationships quickly and effectively communicate in person. For those with a drive to succeed and a skill for connecting with people, field sales can be an extremely rewarding career, with plenty of room for progression to leadership positions.
Field Sales Management
Field sales managers play an important leadership role in driving sales for their businesses. They manage teams of sales representatives, set sales targets, meet with important customers, and do whatever they can to help their team hit their quotas.
Of course, it’s possible to do most of this from home, but our advice? A field sales manager should be in the field.
When they’re in action with your team, field sales managers have the opportunity to build stronger relationships. They can ride together, debrief after meetings, and get coffee together. They see their salespeople in their element, observing what they do well and what they need to work on. This allows for more natural conversations and greater receptivity to leadership and coaching.
They can also get a better sense of your team members’ strengths and weaknesses. As a result, they can tailor their management style to each individual and better help them succeed. All of this leads to a more effective and efficient field sales team, which in turn, helps boost your top and bottom line.
Field Sales Management Training
At ASLAN, we believe the best way to train field sales managers is to get them in a room for a day or two of in-person training. This immersive process helps to crystallize the principles that they need to apply in the field to effectively lead their team.
But when in-person isn’t an option, virtual sales training programs are an important option: helping field sales teams pick up new skills and processes on the go.
Regardless of how the training is delivered, the real transformation happens in the field. That’s when it’s vital for field sales trainers and managers to spend time in the field, helping their sales team build mastery.
When trainers and managers accompany their teams in the field, it helps to solidify and apply those “classroom” principles. Trainers can observe how the manager interacts with their team to ensure they’re applying the training correctly. They can also provide feedback and help troubleshoot any problems as they arise. For managers, it’s an opportunity to get closer to their teams, helping them to become more effective salespeople.
As those in field sales know, there’s also simply no substitute for face-to-face interaction for building rapport and trust. What’s more, being in the field allows sales trainers and managers to read body language and gauge customers’ reactions in real time, which can be invaluable information when it comes to closing a deal.
Spending time in different environments also helps to improve receptivity. After all, not everyone is comfortable meeting in a stuffy office. By venturing out into the field, sales trainers show they’re willing to meet managers and their teams on their own terms. That can make all the difference when it comes to winning their trust and making an impact.
Beyond the Classroom: Field Sales Management Training in the Real World
Any manager worth their salt knows that field sales training is essential to their team’s success. But what is the best way to go about it? The first step is observing your field sales representatives in action and taking note of what they’re doing well and what could use improvement. Then, bring in a sales training team. Instruct your managers to observe how the trainers coach on that specific skill or behavior. They’ll quickly learn exactly what effective field sales looks like.
At ASLAN, we often witness this mindset shift: “We thought we were good, but we suck.”
Of course, they may not really suck, and it’s never as bad as it seems. They’re just realizing there are areas they didn’t know they could improve upon. Only by helping them become consciously incompetent can you then show your team members how to improve.
That’s when you give them the chance to put it all into practice in the real world. With this process, you’ll be sure to have a field sales team that’s ready to take on any challenge.
ASLAN Trains Field Sales Managers
At ASLAN, we know that field sales managers play a vital role in the success of your company. That’s why we focus heavily on proven training and development for this critical position. Our goal is to ensure that your field sales managers are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and abilities they need to lead their teams to success.
By investing in the development of your field sales managers, you ensure that you have the best possible team in place to drive results for your company.
Ready to get started with training for your field sales representatives and managers that actually works?