UK organisations are not providing sales managers with the necessary support and tools for managing increasingly larger, geographically dispersed teams, new research has revealed.
According to ‘The Critical Role of the Front-Line Sales Manager’ report from Showpad, more than half (55%) of UK sales managers have just 3 years’ experience or less before making the step up into management - but are being ill-equipped to become successful leaders.
“Sales managers can be the overlooked and unsung heroes of the business – after all, they lead the teams that drive vital revenue. Sales managers are responsible for setting the tone for the entire sales team, but businesses could be missing a trick, or rather a deal, by not training them well enough,” commented Jim Preston, Director of Sales UK, Showpad.
Insufficient resources and time for coaching
A lack of qualified sales employees is one of the biggest challenges UK sales managers are currently facing (24%), but a fifth (19%) of sales managers do not have time to properly coach their teams. The pace of business is leaving little time for training and instead, sales managers are having to juggle other tasks that take away valuable coaching opportunities.
On average, sales managers spend eight hours a week on administrative work and meetings, making admin one of the biggest drains on their time. Meanwhile, sales managers spend on average under five hours a week on coaching and training employees.
Almost a quarter (24%) of sales managers also say their organisation lacks sufficient resources and almost a fifth (19%) feel they don’t receive the support from management they need to succeed in their job. As a result, more than one in 10 (12%) sales managers don’t feel they are properly prepared or equipped to be a sales manager.
Nature of sales teams becoming more complex
Sales managers being equipped with the necessary knowledge and tools is even more important with the changing dynamic of sales teams. The study also showed that sales managers are now having to deal with larger, more diverse and complex teams and they can no longer rely on a one-size fits-all approach.
For example, one in five UK sales managers now manage more than twenty people and a quarter (27%) have a team of 11 people or more. Almost three-quarters (71%) of sales managers are also older or the same age as the majority of their sales team.
These bigger, multi-generational teams are also not all working in one place, with remote working increasingly becoming the norm. More than half (54%) of UK sales managers are leading teams in which at least half or more employees are working remotely. For one in ten sales managers, their whole team works remotely.
“As the complexities of managing a sales team continue to grow, it’s imperative that organisations equip these sales managers with the tools and resources to automate time consuming tasks and deliver personalised training and coaching at scale,” concluded Preston.