After a workshop recently, the sales managers and I strategized the best way to help reinforce the learning and training with their sales team. This is something I often do because a workshop is not a training event that stands on its own—it's just the start to what should be continuous learning.
Like other post-workshop discussions, managers confess that they really haven't been doing enough to keep their teams on track. They realize there hasn't been enough productive sales activity or growth in their people. As managers, you need to constantly remember that your team's performance is a direct reflection of YOU. They follow your lead, and if your lead keeps your face buried in a spreadsheet, or behind closed doors on conference calls, then guess what you can expect!
The day-to-day obligations of a manager's job can be overwhelming and can overshadow the most important part of being a manager... being a coach!
If you want your team to improve, you need to observe their behavior first hand and look for coaching opportunities to help them get better. Even the most experienced of salespeople appreciate this kind of feedback. It shows them you care about their success.
So go on calls with them, listen in on the phone calls, review valid business reasons and proposals before they land in the hands of prospects or clients, and participate along with your salespeople in any given training. Based on your observations, offer tough love and offer it often. Just like a salesperson may only be as good as their last sale, a manager is only as good as their next great salesperson.