March 8, 2016

As a sales manager, you know that the success of your team largely hinges on your effectiveness as a leader. And to be an effective sales manager, you need visibility into what you team is achieving.

However, some sales managers take their need for visibility too far and start micromanaging. This ineffective management practice often makes their team become resentful, hindering them from selling to the best of their ability.

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Are you guilty of micromanaging your team?

If so, it is important for you to learn how to stop micromanaging and start leading your team in a way that inspires and motivates them to achieve top sales results. The following management tips will help you accomplish that with ease.

Management Tips: How to Avoid Micromanaging Salespeople

1. Hire the right salespeople.

Often, a sales manager will begin micromanaging because he does not trust his team. To avoid this, make sure every salesperson you hire is trustworthy and capable of selling effectively. You can do this by using a proven hiring process that includes a sales personality test to help take the guesswork out of hiring.

When your team is comprised of Driven, hard-working salespeople, you will feel more confident in their ability to work independently and feel less tempted to micromanage.

Bonus: Read this blog post to learn 10 unusual sales interview questions you can ask to uncover a candidate’s true potential and make good hiring decisions. 

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2. Empower your salespeople to succeed with the right tools.

If you are micromanaging one of your salespeople because he has a track record of producing less-than-impressive sales results, be sure he has all of the necessary tools to succeed before you take disciplinary action or reprimand him in any way.

Start by sitting down with him to ask what could help him improve his sales results. If he does not know, you could make a few suggestions, like:

You might find out that he is struggling to sell due to an ineffective sales process that has been established by management, technology that is too slow or some other problem that you can easily resolve. From there, you can empower him by giving him what he needs. That way, he can sell more, and you do not have to feel like you need to micromanage due to poor results.

3. Encourage open communication.

If you do not have healthy working relationships with your salespeople, they may feel hesitant about talking to you. As a result, you could feel like you are often left out of the loop, which can make it tempting to start micromanaging.

You might feel like micromanaging your team is the only way to get information you need, but it is not. Instead, you should encourage your salespeople to communicate openly with you about their successes as well as their struggles. Focus on building healthy working relationships with them, and let them know that they will not be reprimanded for communicating with you. They should all feel like you genuinely care about helping them reach their fullest potential.

4. Understand that every salesperson will not have the same approach to sales as you.

If you see that a salesperson is not using your preferred approach to selling, you many think micromanaging him is the best way to resolve this issue.

However, it is not. What you should do instead is understand that there is more than one way to sell effectively. If a salesperson’s approach is different, but effective, allow him to use that approach and give him positive feedback based on the results he achieves. If his approach is particularly effective, you may even want to ask him to share his tactics with your sales team – this will make him feel successful at work and help your team produce better sales results overall.

5. Provide clear instructions for sales tasks upfront and make sure you have been understood.

When you see your salespeople repeatedly neglect to complete tasks the correct way (or at all), you become understandably frustrated. And sometimes that frustration can even turn the best sales managers into micromanagers.

Before you start keeping a closer watch on your team to make sure they are working the way you want them to, ask yourself whether you have given them the information they need to succeed. You may find the way you are explaining tasks to your salespeople is ineffective and that is why they often struggle to meet your standards.

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If that is the case, talk to your salespeople to pinpoint which parts of the way you deliver information needed to be improved. From there, you can make changes to the way you give instructions so that there is no need to micromanage your team – they will have all the information they need to get the job done right the first time.

6. Analyze yourself to determine why you are tempted to micromanage.

So far, we have discussed many reasons why you might be tempted to micromanage. If none of them have applied to you, try to determine why you feel the need to micromanage.

Once you figure out the cause, you can start working to eliminate that cause so you do not have to react to it by micromanaging. This will be better for you because it will reduce your stress and workload, and it will also be better for your team because they will feel like you view them as competent and able to succeed at sales.

7. Realize that everyone makes mistakes.

No matter how great of a sales manager you are, your salespeople will fail from time to time. Maybe they will forget to follow up with a lead, fail to close an easy sale, show up to work late or do something else that might make you question hiring them in the first place.

When that happens, remember that every makes mistakes on occasion. Even your best salesperson may fail to follow up with a lead if he is overwhelmed, fail to close a sale because of technology issue that arose while talking to a customer or show up to work late due to a family emergency. All of those failures are understandable.

That is why it is important to be sympathetic and determine the cause of the failure before you start reprimanding and micromanaging your team. Of course, you should never let your team get away with too much to take advantage of your kindness, but do remember that they are human beings and that human beings are never perfect all of the time.

Next time you are tempted to micromanage, follow the management tips outlined here instead. By doing so, you will become a more effective sales manager capable of leading your team to success.