5 Questions CEOs Should Ask Their Sales Managers

By XINNIX | August 1, 2022 | Training

Strong leadership is the foundation for success. But what makes strong leaders? Besides the right attitude, excellent communication can truly make your leadership shine. In fact, organizations where leaders regularly engage and receive feedback from managers are over four times more likely to have exceptional leaders and a robust bench of dedicated workers. 

When it comes to your team, sales managers can provide the communication touch point for CEOs to gain insight and discover opportunities for whole-team success. Here are the five questions to ask a sales manager in order to build an effective and successful organization from the inside out.

1. What Does the Week Ahead Look Like for You?

Understanding where your sales manager and their team stand can allow you to identify potential challenges before they arise. Use this conversation to discover what changes have occurred since your last talk. Inquire about the team’s workload to identify what could hinder goals or clog the sales pipeline.

Implications of How Your Sales Manager Answers

 Listen carefully and consider:

  • Is your sales team busier in the coming weeks? 
  • What roadblocks may they face?
  • Are there less-busy team members who can offer support?

Sales management training can happen naturally through conversations. If the manager is able to tell you about their next week's goals but seems to need motivation, this would be a good time to discuss their personal goals and remind them why they are on the team.

2. How Can We Optimize Our Sales Team’s Performance?

Ask which team members are performing well and how you might replicate and implement their process across your sales team. Don’t be afraid to take notes or record the meeting, as this conversation could have information that can be used to drive the team to success in the future.

On the flip side, evaluate which team members may be underperforming to create a plan of action that can encourage or assist in their improvement. It’s a good idea to have each team member’s stats on hand so you can take an in-depth look at the metrics with the manager.

Implications of How Your Sales Manager Answers

Use this question to see how your sales manager is managing your sales team. If your sales manager seems informed and ready to tackle the question, this is a good sign. This is also a good opportunity to see if they suggest training opportunities and for whom. 

3. Are Our Goals Realistic?

It’s easy to set lofty sales goals, but it’s imperative that they follow the SMART acronym: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. Ask your sales manager whether they are confident that the team can achieve these goals or troubleshoot areas where they may be falling short: not enough sales, not enough offers, not enough staff or other factors. Ensure that they have a way to measure activities that drive growth

Implications of How Your Sales Manager Answers

See if your sales manager mentions outside factors that are affecting the goal-setting process. You may need to brainstorm with the team and face challenges head-on. If you think you hear excuses, listen deeper to determine the root cause of the issues. Are the goals not realistic because of outside factors, or are there instances where training and a change of mindset can boost your team into reaching their sales goals?

4. Are We Taking Care of Our Customers?

Providing five-star customer service is the backbone of any facet of the service industry. Ask your sales manager whether they have observed any obstacles in obtaining or retaining customers. At the end of the day, customers and their opinion of you can make or break your business, so ensure that you are keeping standards high.

Implications of How Your Sales Manager Answers

Listen carefully and consider:

  • What steps are being taken to strengthen the customer relationship?
  • Are there opportunities for new business?
  • What customer-facing strategies are working?
  • Are there any strategies that aren’t working to retain customers?

If your sales manager seems concerned about the level of customer service, this could mean that your team is stretched too thin, they need defined service standards, or they require empowerment tools to help them provide superior service.

5. What Can I Do To Help You?

Your sales manager isn’t the only responsible party for the success of your organization. CEOs should also take accountability for every win and loss their sales manager experiences. With this question, take note of what your manager says and consider alternative ways in which you can support them. While it’s important to allow your sales manager room to grow and lead, don't be afraid to dive in and resolve an issue if your manager genuinely needs assistance. 

Implications of How Your Sales Manager Answers

If your sales manager seems anxious, dig deeper to discover what is causing the stress. Are their needs being met? Do they see areas that need improvement but aren’t sure how to address them? Creating a culture where your sales managers feel comfortable communicating their needs with you will ultimately lend to a more dedicated and high-performing team. Similarly, remember to show your gratitude for having such a dedicated manager (and the whole team). Appreciation can help even someone who is overwhelmed take a step back and gain perspective.

Empower Your Team By Supporting Your Sales Managers

It’s difficult to know how to uplift your sales team — unless you ask. Sales managers can provide a wealth of information that you can use to remove challenges and create opportunities for the whole crew. 

Asking the right questions at the right time positions you to make more informed decisions while also empowering your team to work more effectively.