What Frontline Sales Managers Need to Do to Make the Biggest Impact

Maya Connet

Maya Connet
Director of Sales

What Frontline Sales Managers Need to Do to Make the Biggest Impact

Frontline managers face tremendous pressure to perform. 

Hitting their quotas in high-growth companies can determine whether the entire company will meet its goals. Deals closed, and revenue secured, determine where and when the company can invest to further mature the business. 

FLMs will likely tell you that they want to spend more time coaching and less time asking reps to report the news. Wanting this, and actually having the instrumentation to do so, are two very different things. 

Understanding this is a large part of why I joined Clari in early 2019. I had used Clari myself since 2018 and saw the power in an end-to-end revenue operations platform. But a platform alone can’t answer two key questions about FLM success:

  • What separates good FLMs from great ones? 
  • How can a new FLM ramp up quickly and make an impact immediately? 

I always knew that I wanted to be a sales leader. I was a successful enterprise rep at Clari for over a year before I pitched our CRO and VP of Commercial Sales on why I was a natural fit to lead a high-performing team of talented sellers.   

As I ramped up quickly as an FLM, I had two more critical questions in mind: 

  • How can I ensure my team is successful? 
  • How can I make an even broader impact on the company, beyond the sales team?

Here’s how I approach answering those questions for a revenue operations team. 

How can I help my sales team improve? 

I may have been a new front line manager, but I had information at my fingertips that my predecessors didn’t even five years ago. With Clari’s revenue operations platform, I can instantly conduct meaningful, easy deal inspection that requires no manual data entry from the reps. 

In Clari, I can quickly see all of my reps’ upcoming meetings. That’s a game-changer for any FLM. I can determine which meetings I should join, or where I can provide more tailored coaching for the rep to handle calls and meetings solo. I can see what plays have run, and where we need to dig deeper into more creative deal strategies. 

Because of automatic contact capture, I can see exactly how multi- or single-threaded my team is in their deal cycles with relationship insights. Account-level insights show me what’s changed, and when. Deals in red suffered a negative change, like a close date pushed out. Deals in green show a positive change, like the contract amount rose. 

I can map out a path to plan for my team and conduct real-time scenario planning and pipeline coverage analysis.  All of this allows me to better coach my team to success, deal by deal, quarter by quarter. 

What’s my path to plan, and do I have enough pipeline?

In order to create a clear path to plan, an FLM needs full funnel visibility. If you only focus on this quarter, then you have no pipeline to move up the funnel to sign contracts. With a solid pipeline foundation, you can methodically scenario-plan and map out various routes to exceeding quota. 

As an FLM using Clari, I can check a box in the platform called “Path to Plan,” to support specific, narrow scenario-planning. I can clearly map out how individual deals will get us to our team goal. In QBRs at the start of every quarter, I talk about our team’s “Path to Plan” to inspire further focus on deals, which adds an extra level of accountability to the reps that own those opportunities. 

Where is my team spending their time?

Seeing a real-time snapshot of how your team spends their time can mark the difference between hitting quota and becoming the top-performing team. Leveraging data and coaching around it during weekly one-on-ones, QBRs, account planning and deal strategy sessions separates good coaches from great ones. 

It’s one thing to review a dashboard to understand what’s happening in a deal, but it takes a different level of thoughtfulness, focus, and support to pinpoint what’s missing. FLMs often want to find such holes: Which accounts haven’t been touched recently? Where are the reps not focusing? Which deals aren’t multi-threaded? A traditional CRM alone can make that a challenge. 

However, once a manager can see that type of engagement data, they can slice and dice into their highest priorities. Maybe that’s addressable annual recurring revenue. In Clari, I can sort and view deals based on potential ARR, spotting risk in my team’s resource allocation and then supporting them to course-correct accordingly. 

How can I make a broader impact?

FLMs with the resources and instrumentation to coach effectively have more time for opportunities that have an impact outside of your team.

For example, I’ve been able to: 

  • Help with operational efficiencies to streamline deal desk processes, such as how our reps can spend less time quoting and more time in front of prospects, and sales operations processes, especially as they relate to territory planning and other GTM planning.  
  • Collaborate with marketing to drive better top-of-funnel efforts, such as sharing what we’re hearing in the field with the demand generation team, so they can create more tailored and effective content and assets that speak to the questions prospects ask us. 
  • Create and publish content, supporting the company and my professional brand. 
  • Contribute to broader company initiatives such as give-back and volunteer efforts, diversity and inclusion initiatives, and work with recruiting to attract even more top talent.

As FLMs evolve from reporting the news to more data-driven, forward-thinking, strategic initiatives, it’s vital that they have the proper instrumentation and foundation to be able to coach their team for impactful results. This helps their team, their careers—and the entire company. 

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