Q: How often should a sales manager visit the customers?
A: There are a couple of ways to answer the question. From one perspective, as a sales manager, you need to have your own relationship with good customers in your area of responsibility. There are several reasons for that.
First of all, you’re a boss – part of the company’s management. As such, you are perceived to have more power and influence than a salesperson. Your good customers will want to know you because the relationship with you gives them access to higher levels within your organization.
Additionally, many of these good customers will tell you things that they won’t tell the salesperson. They will share concerns, plans, and goals that they don’t typically share with your salesperson.
Secondly, you need your own relationship with the good customers so as to provide a backup if the salesperson leaves. In the worst-case scenario, if a disgruntled salesperson leaves and joins the competition, you need to know who the customers are, and they need to know that you are the face of the company behind the front-line salesperson.
Notice that the emphasis here is on “good” customers. I don’t think that you need to know every customer, nor do you need to know the prospects.
Now, back to the question.
How often should a sales manager visit the customers? Often enough to accomplish the above two objectives. These are visits that you make, by yourself, without the salesperson present.
Then, you should visit them with your salespeople to support the salesperson, add credibility to his/her presence, and to coach and counsel the salesperson on techniques and strategy.
That’s the first answer. The second answer is simpler.
How much time should you spend in the field, visiting customers and working with salespeople?
Answer: More than you do. I have yet to meet a sales manager who spent as much time in the field as he/she would like to spend. I can almost categorically state that every sales manager should spend more time in the field than they do.
This is one of the questions that I often field in my Kahle Way® Sales Management System Course. Learn the five key practices that will allow you to unleash the potential of your sales team. Learn more here.
Salespeople sell better with better sales management
Good sales managers know how to direct, encourage, support, and hold their sales teams accountable. They engender maximum performance and constant growth.
You could, too. The days of learning to manage by trial and error, or mimicking the way you were managed, are long gone. There is a better way.
The Kahle Way® Sales Management System Course “This is an extremely simple, yet highly effective system of managing salespeople. Beyond that, I am very impressed with the values built into the program (the counseling section, and the consistent processes which value the overall dignity of the individual while keeping them accountable). This is truly a system I can get behind and learn to master. I look forward to being a part of my salespeople’s development and success.”
John Cobb, Consolidated Supply, Inc.