Sales Manager Enablement Tips

We’ve talked about messaging, and we’ve talked about empowering your top performers. In the third part of our sales kickoff (SKO) meeting series, we’re diving into how to invest in great sales managers.

Way too often all of your sales kickoff meeting efforts are focused on your reps. It’s not to say they aren’t important, but you can’t completely neglect your sales managers either. Focusing on sales manager enablement during your SKO will help build a leadership team that can invest in your sales organization all year round. Here are some of the top ways to help them win during, and after, kickoff.

Help Them Build a Great Team Culture

Happy sales rep, happy revenue streams. Ok, that may not be the exact saying but you get the drift. Helping your sales managers keep their reps happy in their everyday role is an important part of building a successful team and decreasing sales rep turnover. In other words, actively working on team culture is a big deal. Schedule some time during your sales kickoff for your sales manager to break out with their individual teams. Splitting into smaller teams can help reps bond at a different level, and make your sales manager efforts more effective. Continue to empower your sales managers to build better team culture even after kickoff by budgeting for team activities and events throughout the year.

Building culture isn’t just about bonding. You should also train your sales managers on identifying potential culture threats. Do they have one negative sales rep who is constantly bringing the team down? Coach them on how to identify and handle these situations to improve their team morale overall.

Teach Them to Create Healthy Competition Within Their Teams

According to Salesforce, 71% of companies who implemented gamification strategies saw an increase of 11 to 50% in sales performance. Use your SKO as an opportunity to get your sales managers excited about gamification, and to inspire them with new ideas, success stories, and training. You may even want to bring in an outside expert to get them revved up. Help them create a plan for how they can implement some of these strategies within their teams.


Each sales manager should leave kickoff with a gamification action plan that includes an implementation strategy, a schedule for additional meetings, and a plan for data analysis of their efforts. With a gamification plan in their back pocket, your sales managers will leave kickoff ready to tackle the new year.

Introduce Them to the Right Tools to Manage Talent

Just like your sales reps need the right training and tools to be successful, your managers do too. Don’t forget to design and schedule specific sales manager enablement training during SKO. Use mini sessions to target their needs specifically, and use SKO as the perfect time to introduce new technology that can make their jobs easier and more efficient. Need a few examples?

  • Online training technology can help them easily deliver bite-sized training modules to their reps
  • Video recording technology can help them determine whether their sales reps have truly perfected their pitch
  • Online learning software can help them assess sales rep talent with quizzes and other types of knowledge checks

Help your managers understand how technology can have an impact on their day-to-day life, and then give them access and training for the tools they need.

Lead Them to the Analytics Promise Land

Your sales kickoff meeting is the perfect time to get realigned on data and metrics. Schedule some sales manager only breakout sessions to cover key performance indicators, and how to effectively track them. One of the best ways to boost sales manager enablement is to effectively communicate what your sales managers should be working towards. Setting clear expectations will take your sales managers from running around blindfolded to hitting the bullseye every time.
High performing sales organizations are on average 3.5 times more likely to use analytics daily in their prospecting and selling efforts.

Sales Manager Enablement Data

The first step towards getting your organization on track is training and inspiring your sales managers to pass the message down the ranks. Sales kickoff is the perfect time to start your analytics transformation, but you should also be following up with regular training and coaching throughout the year.

Coach Them to be Great Coaches

You need your sales managers to be great sales coaches. One of the most important parts of their role is cultivating a successful sales team. Focus your SKO efforts on enabling your sales managers to be the coaching experts. Show them the latest technology tools, set them up with the access they need, and inspire them to be involved. One of the biggest mistakes when it comes to sales coaching is a lack of consistency. Getting them on board with regular coaching not only at SKO, but throughout the year, is half the battle.

One study showed sales coaching of individual reps caused up to a 19% improvement in performance. Your sales managers hold a huge key to success, and it’s your job to show them how to use it.

Sales kickoff meetings are often focused on sales rep and revenue goals. How do you inspire your force to meet and exceed new goals? How do you get them motivated like you never have before? Instead of simply focusing on your sales reps, consider investing in your sales manager enablement. Teach your managers to help your reps be successful all year long, instead of relying on SKO once a year.

Did you already check out parts one and two of our sales kickoff series? We covered how to successfully get your messaging across during SKO, and how to empower your top performers.

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