How Frontline Sales Managers Can Accelerate Growth & Revenue
Frontline sales managers are responsible for leading the sales team in their day-to-day activities. They help sales reps and their overall organizations make steady progress towards goals.
Frontline sales managers typically perform their own set of “traditional” sales tasks (e.g., prospecting, qualifying, giving demos, etc.) while also coaching and guiding the other members of their sales team in similar tasks.
In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about frontline sales: what the job entails, how to be successful at it, and why the role is so important in a sales organization.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- What Is Frontline Sales?
- What Frontline Sales Managers Need to Succeed
- The Importance of Your Frontline Sales Team
What Is Frontline Sales?
Frontline sales refers to the sales and leadership tasks performed by frontline sales managers.
Frontline sales managers are leaders in their sales organization. They are typically skilled salespeople and are often promoted to a frontline sales manager thanks to their outstanding sales performance.
That being said, being a frontline sales manager isn’t all about hitting sales quota quickly. They are also responsible for guiding, coaching, and monitoring the performance of the other sales reps on their team.
Frontline sales managers give direction to their organization on everything from day-to-day sales tasks to big-picture strategy moves. They ensure that the team’s decisions and activities are in line with the organization’s goals.
In fact, when asked about the number one priority of a frontline salesperson, most sales professionals in the role responded with either big-picture strategy or direct customer interaction.
The actions of the frontline sales manager — regarding both their own sales performance and how they respond to that of their colleagues — have a significant impact on individual and team performance.Lead your team to successTrack, analyze, and standardize what’s working
What Frontline Sales Managers Need to Succeed
Effective frontline sales managers are essential for organizations hoping to improve their sales metrics.
Unfortunately, many sales professionals who work in the FSM role struggle to maximize their impact because they’re bogged down with non-productive, administrative, or distracting tasks.
In fact, a recent Gartner study found a clear inverse relationship between the non-productive work burden on a frontline sales manager relative to how far an organization fell behind quota: a decrease of nearly 20% for every unit of burden.
That’s why it’s crucial that upper-level sales managers ensure that frontline sales managers have all the components to success available to them: more time for coaching, support from upper management, and the right tools and resources.
More Time for Coaching
Sales coaching improves many aspects of sales performance. All kinds of KPIs — from customer loyalty to overall selling effectiveness — are tangibly improved when organizations use a coaching approach.
In addition, research shows that sales teams that adhere to a structured, collaborative coaching model are the ones who see the most benefit.
Frontline sales managers need to be afforded ample time for coaching as part of their regular job duties. They need time and resources built into their schedule that allows for regular one-on-one coaching sessions with each of the sales reps on their team.
That being said, it’s also important to allocate time for frontline sales managers to receive coaching themselves. Many sales reps who end up in this role earn it on the merit of their sales performance — not necessarily their management skills. Frontline sales managers should receive coaching that will help them become better mentors and coaches themselves.
Support From Upper Management
High-level sales and c-suite executives need to have a thorough understanding of how important the frontline sales manager role is. FSMs report to upper management, and they are ultimately responsible for the overall health of the sales organization.
With that relationship in mind, upper management should take time to define the day-to-day expectations and markers of success for the role. There needs to be a clear and mutual understanding of expectations of the role.
The Right Tools and Resources
Perhaps most importantly, frontline sales managers need access to a suite of tools that alleviate the burden of non-productive tasks.
Today’s sales rep only spends about 36% of their time performing revenue-generating sales activities.
The frontline sales manager has even more responsibility than what’s outlined here, so it wouldn’t be surprising if those in the role have even less time for actual selling.
That’s why automated sales enablement and sales engagement tools like Yesware are non-negotiables for frontline sales managers. These software platforms can:
- Send, track, and analyze personalized email campaigns
- Give up-to-the-minute insights on pipeline engagement with powerful reporting and analytics tools
- Integrate directly with your CRM, accessible in your inbox
Sales enablement tools can also help FSMs create and execute content marketing sales strategies.
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The Importance of Your Frontline Sales Team
The frontline sales team can be transformative to the health and success of the overall sales organization. That being said, the impacts are greatest when the frontline sales manager’s role is well-defined and supported by the team under it.
The Day-to-Day of Frontline Sales Teams
Frontline sales managers juggle many responsibilities. Their job duties include:
- Performing tasks within the sales pipeline
- Coaching sales reps on a variety of performance metrics, including how to consistently have value-driven conversations with prospects
- Helping their team move deals down the pipeline more quickly
The frontline sales manager sits at the intersection of day-to-day sales activity and big-picture growth. They are responsible for making sure the two are in harmony.
In order to achieve this, they need to be tuned into the organization’s goals. To that end, make sure your organization — especially the sales department — uses the SMART approach to goal-setting. This framework helps align all of your departments in understanding one another’s goals, and how they contribute to the bigger picture.
How Sales Team Can Support Frontline Sales Managers
A great frontline sales manager is an asset to any sales organization, but the truly successful ones are defined by how supportive and in-sync their respective teams are with their managers.
One of the best ways for sales reps to support their frontline managers is to be open-minded and willing to adapt their strategies and techniques in response to feedback.
In fact, coachability is so key to an organization’s success that Hubspot’s original hiring matrix weighted it equally as important as intelligence and work ethic — higher than passion and prior success.
Sales reps who are willing to have honest, constructive conversations will help improve the impact of a great frontline sales manager.
How does the frontline sales manager role function at your organization? What tools are most effective for them? What tools or features would make their life easier?
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