• Nitya Kirat

Middle managers: The forgotten middle


Middle managers form the core of every sales team. They handle effectively delivering strategic objectives as defined by their top executives, supervise their team, and everything from interviewing to campaign development, and everything else that comes with that.


Despite being a critical leadership team within the company, they are often overlooked when management assesses who needs training and development. CEOs and top executives set the training budget and will typically have access to executive coaches. While new salespeople receive some form of training with a clear development pipeline when they join the firm. So, line managers, like the "ugly stepchild," are thus left to fend for themselves.


Most organizations don't make this no brainer investment because the sink or swim mentality still prevails in the workplace. Companies expect line managers to set the example for junior employees yet the habits and behavior they are required to exhibit are best developed through training.


It is therefore hardly surprising that an HBR study found that mid-level managers are the weakest link in an organization. Mostly because they are among the bottom 5% of the most engaged employees. A similar study also shows that 90% of people believe that the lack of training and development and the resulting disengagement and apathy are harming the sales funnel.


Why is that?


They'll figure it out


This "forgotten middle" is practically in charge of running operations, but the assumption is that they will just perform a fantastic job. The key problem of not involving managers while training employees is ingraining inefficiency into operations and expecting outcomes to materialize. Foremost, it means that their knowledge of the workers on their team is untapped. Second, managers can't fully reap the advantages of training if they don't understand or have better skills than their juniors.


There's no budget


Part of the factors making it worse for middle-level sales management is that there isn't enough budget left by the time anyone comes to think of them. They play an important role in the learning and development of other employees therefore, underestimating their significance may mean that resources used in training others will go to waste.


Setting a proper budget and being intentional about the learning and development of mid-level managers is the best way to guarantee the success of other training and development within the firm.


Calculating ROI of managers Vs individual sellers


Companies that want to stand out from the crowd and gain a significant competitive edge invest in their sales managers to become transformative leaders, managers, and coaches. Engaged employees equipped with relevant, effective training have high overall employee satisfaction which reflects in their team's return on investment and productivity levels.


Isn't this forgotten middle exactly the group you need to invest in to attain your objectives?