Improving B2B performance by empowering middle management

jose monsalve Published by Jose Monsalve – 25 April 2024

Optimizing business performance by strategically empowering middle managers to help B2B companies succeed

In the business world, middle managers – in this case, sales managers – play a key role as intermediaries between management and front-line sales teams.

Their task is to translate corporate strategy into concrete action, ensuring that the company’s objectives are achieved effectively and efficiently. Despite their importance, they are often underestimated and neglected in many organizations, which limits their ability to ensure the company’s success.

According to the recently published book “Power to the Middle” (Harvard Business Review Press, July 2023), equipping these operational middle managers with the right skills and support can have a significant impact on reducing friction, accelerating action and realizing the company’s vision.

In many companies, these managers are relegated to roles as mere executors of operational tasks, rather than being seen as strategic partners in the sales process.

This can be particularly problematic in an environment where transactions tend to be more complex and require a more consultative approach.

Since the pandemic and the succession of crises, the importance of management training has become clear, as many managers lack the skills needed to adapt to a rapidly changing business environment. The pace of organizational change has accelerated, and managers need to be ready to effectively guide their sales teams through this new landscape.

To bridge this skills gap and empower sales managers, it is essential that senior managers and other decision-makers promote training programs in key areas such as strategic thinking, problem-solving, effective communication and sales team leadership. These skills are essential not only for the success of individual sales managers, but also for the overall performance of the sales team and, ultimately, for the commercial success of the company.

Implementing capability development programs for these managers can be challenging, but is essential to unlocking their potential and enhancing their contribution to business success. By overcoming common obstacles, such as lack of resources and resistance to change, organizations can create an environment that fosters growth and excellence in business operations.

As companies face an increasingly competitive and dynamic business environment, it’s essential that sales managers are equipped with the skills they need to adapt and lead in this ever-changing environment.

This means not only understanding the complexity of the products or services they sell, but also gaining an in-depth understanding of customers’ specific needs and challenges. In addition, sales managers need to be able to leverage the latest technologies and digital tools to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of sales operations, such as generative AI, about which they are still largely untrained.

On the other hand, it’s essential that organizations recognize and value the crucial role these managers play in the company’s overall success, beyond the numbers. This means providing them with ongoing professional development opportunities, including coaching and mentoring programs, as well as recognition and rewards for their contribution to achieving company goals. By investing in the growth and development of these middle managers, companies can create an organizational culture that fosters excellence in business operations and promotes sustainable long-term success.

Finally, we can say that empowering these sales managers is crucial to optimizing company performance and ensuring long-term success in the marketplace. By providing them with the necessary skills and support, organizations can maximize the potential of these managers and establish a solid foundation for growth and competitiveness.

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