July 25, 2019
Updated: January 6, 2020

These Three Things Keep Front Line Sales Managers Up at Night

Behind every winning sports team is a great coach. A coach sets the tone for success, creates a strategy, and provides continuous sales training and support so the team can reach its full potential.

In Sales, front line Sales managers take on the role of coaches, supporting and developing team members day in and day out in their sales execution. By working to improve the performance of individual Sales reps, management plays a critical role in growing an organization’s revenue and improving its sales process.

In order to scale successfully, it’s critical for a Sales organization and its executives to support their front line Sales managers. But how? The first step is to better understand the challenges front line Sales managers face on a daily basis.

Three Top Challenges of Today’s Front Line Sales Managers

Showpad recently surveyed more than 500 Sales managers at organizations across the globe to help Sales leaders better understand management pain points using data-driven insights. In this blog post, we’ll explore three of the top challenges front line Sales managers face, based on this new, exclusive sales enablement research.

By understanding these management challenges, Sales leadership can better provide front line sales managers with the sales enablement tools, resources, and support they need to be successful – and drive revenue growth.

The three top challenges of today’s front line Sales managers are:

  1. Tough transition from rep to manager
  2. Large, diverse teams to lead
  3. Not enough time to coach their teams

Making the Transition to Manager is Tough

A promotion from rep to manager is typically rewarded for understanding sales objectives and hitting sales goals. But the management transition isn’t always an easy one.

Front line Sales managers encounter a variety of challenges when transitioning to their role, but our research found the most common all relate to a lack of adequate training and coaching skills – both for the managers themselves and the Sales representatives they oversee. Here’s a look at the top five challenges front line Sales managers face when transitioning to their current role:

  • They don’t have enough time to devote to improving reps’ sales productivity.
  • They didn’t receive enough sales coaching to help me transition from selling directly to coaching a team to sell.
  • The pace of business doesn’t allow for Sales people to be properly trained.
  • They didn’t feel sufficiently trained to manage a team.
  • Their learning tool wasn’t built for the ongoing training the Sales team needs.

An employee’s strong Sales performance and selling skills as a rep doesn’t guarantee she’ll be successful in Sales management. The onus is on organizations to develop training and coaching programs to help front line Sales managers be effective leaders and coaches.


Front Line Sales Managers Have Large, Diverse Teams to Lead

At some companies, a manager might oversee a handful of employees – all of whom are selling from the same physical office location. But this isn’t the reality for most front line Sales managers.

For starters, front line Sales managers are tasked with leading large Sales forces. Globally, 20% of front line Sales managers oversee teams with 20 or more Sales reps. When we broke down the data by geographic location, we found 20% of front line Sales managers based in the UK and 28% of those in Germany are responsible for 20 plus reps.

To make things even more challenging, Sales teams are spread out geographically. Globally, the majority of front line Sales managers (79%) have at least one team member that works remotely. In the UK, slightly more (80%) of front line Sales managers have remote team members. In Germany, this number spikes to 93%.

Managing a large, geographically-dispersed team is challenging. For starters, face-to-face training and development becomes impractical – and expensive. Front line Sales managers must have access to digital tools that allow them to deliver personalized training and development, regardless of where their team members live.

Front Line Sales Managers Don’t Have Time to Coach Their Teams

Between internal meetings, administrative work, direct customer service, sales calls, and many other tasks, there’s little time left for front line Sales managers to focus on coaching their teams, which is essential for their Sales management and earning a leadership role.

Globally, front line Sales managers only spend an average of 12% of their weekly time providing training and coaching to their employees. Front line Sales managers in the UK also spend 12% of their time coaching their teams, and German managers spend slightly less time (11%) on this key task.

Front line Sales managers understand that coaching is essential to business development success – ideally, they’d spend more time doing it. But often, it boils down to a lack of time. Globally, 34% feel they don’t have enough time to properly coach their teams. 38% of managers in the UK and 46% of those in Germany share this sentiment.

It’s important to equip front line Sales managers with sales enablement tools and resources that allow them to automate tasks not tied to revenue and team goals. That way, they’ll have more time to spend coaching their teams – which will lead to greater revenue growth, success, and attaining their goals.

Drive Revenue By Supporting Your Front Line Sales Managers

Front line Sales managers play a key role in growing an organization’s revenue and implementing sales strategies. Download our new, exclusive study, The Critical Role of the Front Line Sales Manager, to learn more about the challenges front line Sales managers experience - and the steps your organization can do to better support them.

The Critical Role of the Front Line Sales Manager

The Critical Role of the Front Line Sales Manager