Things The Top 5% of Sales Managers Do Differently

Last Updated: Thursday, June 8, 2017 by Johnathan Briggs

Things The Top 5% of Sales Managers Do Differently

What makes the top 5% of sales managers different?

Why do their teams constantly outperform average sales teams?

Top performing sales managers have a laser like focus.  Their team knows where their efforts must go. They know which type of business returns the most profit for the least sales effort.  They're efficient.

Top performing teams are motivated, always learning, and constantly focused on goals.  Targets are almost always achieved - team targets andindividual targets. Everyone has an eye on goals and puts forth the effort to achieve them.

We have been studying top performing sales managers for over 10 years, modelling and documenting why they perform to a higher standard. We're pleased to share the research results.

10 years of research reveals what the top 5% of sales managers do to succeed.

4 Things They Do Differently

Four simple steps is all that separates best-of-breed organisations from their competitors.

We’ve found four things high performing sales managers do differently to average sales managers - illustrated below in the Sales Diamond.


The Sales Diamond Four Key Success Pillars

sales diamond


Diamond Facet #1 - Review and React

You must be able to review and react to the sales landscape.

sales diamond

Understand your marketplace, your customers and their purchase history. Top performing sales managers use business intelligence and data tools to analyse historical sales, and understand profitability to know which type of customers, products or locations drive profits.

For example, it's very easy for sales teams to chase revenue, often resulting in poor profitability.

It’s essential to make sure your customer sales information is used for gain. Mine that data and identify which customers are most profitable.

Focus your team to get the max return for the time invested in the sales process. You can only do this if you have the right information at your fingertips and review it often.

Two of the top techniques for being able to review and react quickly include:
     Integrated views of real-time data on desktop computers
     Regularly scheduled email reports directly to smartphones


Diamond Facet #2 - On-Track / On-Target

How many sales team meetings have you been in where it's painfully obvious that one of your sales guys is never going to meet their target later this month?

"Why did they not do more sooner in the month?", "Why did they not put more effort in 2 weeks ago?". This conversation is had up and down the country in sales meetings every month.

sales diamond

Top performing teams still miss their targets from time-to-time. It's rare because they mostly deliver consistent results.

In top teams, every member of the team always knows what they're targets and goals are and what is required to achieve them. At any moment in time, everybody should know where they are and if they are "on-track" and "on-target".

Consider a salesperson halfway through the month, but they can only see their final target values. If they are half way through the month, are their current sales total “on-track” to achieving the total target by the end of the month?

Make information highly visible if you want motivated salespeople who put in effort early, middle and end of month.

We see two top ways of presenting “on-track” and “on-target” information that motivate sales people:
     Wall-mounted TV leaderboards
     Daily or weekly automated email reports


Diamond Facet #3 - Accountability

I'm sure in a Monday morning sales meeting you have used this phrase at least once, "If you don't make the calls you won't get the appointments and you won't make the sales."

It's amazing how often you need to remind sales guys of this. You need to create a culture of responsibility and accountability where each sales person is responsible for carrying out tasks that lead to successful results.

sales diamond

Pipeline building tasks might include:
     • making A calls
     • attending B meetings
     • uncovering C opportunities
     • having D leads at a particular stage of the pipeline

Whatever you identify as the sales process, you must ensure desired tasks get maximum visibility (maybe even set as targets) so they become accountable for their actions, without you having to chase them up every week.

Just as with "on-track on-target", the techniques of using automated reports and wall mounted screens are very effective because they deliver amazing results. Nobody wants to be seen, or known, as the under-performing slacker, so everyone puts in more effort.

Two of the top techniques for being able to build accountability include:
     Setting targets for CRM activities and tracking progress in real-time
     Keeping staff updated with scheduled email reports to smartphones



Diamond Facet #4 - Recognition and Competition

There is a fine line that top performing sales managers tread. To join the elite 5%, you must always ensure your sales team are selling ethically and in the best interests of your customers. However, by injecting a little internal competition into your sales team, you will generate spectacular results!

Done correctly, performers in your team get public / peer promotion and recognition whilst the lowest performers feel the gentle pressure of publicly not performing.

sales diamond

In my view the best way of achieving this is with a live TV leaderboard that shows sales per salesperson and their target.

Ideally, this leaderboard should be as real-time as possible so each salesperson gets to enjoy their public success as close as possible to the win. Salespeople who do the best get plenty of visibility and the guys not doing well enough feel the need to work harder to get 'back on par'.

Two of the top techniques for creating a competitive team that receive plenty of recognition for their achievements include:
    → Wall-mounted leaderboards
     Other reminders of who's in the lead (like mentions at sales meetings)




The top 5% of (high-performing) sales managers only do a few things differently, but these make a huge difference to company profitability.

Join the top 5% as you focus on the Sales Diamond’s four pillars to success:
     review and react to customer activity
     make clear, at all times, if a sales person is on-target and on-track
     make sales people accountable and
     recognise achievement &  add internal competition within your sales team