Sales Manager Maturity Assessment: Two Perspectives

Creating a compelling business case for sales manager enablement requires that the story is grounded in your organization’s context. And regarding sales manager enablement, assessing the current state of sales manager maturity adds richness to the one dimensional view offered by the business case numbers. And that requires a story AND an assessment of your sales manager maturity. You need a structural maturity and a skill-based sales manager assessment.

Understanding the sales manager maturity model

With both assessments, the structural and the skill-based, we distinguish four different levels of sales manager maturity: random, required, recommended, and world-class.

To understand these levels better, let’s take a look at the challenges faced at each:

  • The first level is random or “laissez-faire,” meaning that there is no role clarity, no formal processes, and no guidelines. This approach is not scalable, because even those who succeed may not be able to explain what they did, or they may attribute it to the wrong activities and behaviors.
  • The required maturity level describes the basic requirements every sales organization should have in place to allow sales managers to become proficient in their role. This level is a giant step forward in formalizing sales manager enablement. However, one of the most important goals is attitudinal: sales managers consciously change their perspective from the “it’s all about me” perspective of a salesperson to the “it’s all about them” perspective that makes them effective sales managers.
  • The recommended maturity level is the checkpoint for every sales leader – what should be provided to allow sales managers to be true professionals, fluent in all aspects of their role. Among other things, this means that sales managers develop balance and competency across all three areas of the sales manager’s triangle: customers, business, and people.
  • The world-class maturity level refines the criteria of the recommended level into a highly adaptive approach that transforms sales managers into frontline sales leaders, coaches, and business managers. The difference from the recommended level is adaptiveness, powered by lots of simulations to drive their already established effectiveness for our highly volatile, complex and ever-changing customers, business, and people environments.


The assessment of structural and organizational maturity looks at six criteria

The structural sales manager maturity level in your organization is determined by how well these criteria are implemented in your organization.

The first criterion is demographics, sales manager role definition, hiring, and promotion process. The second one focuses on existing sales manager development, the third one on the current coaching approach. The fourth criterion looks at the sales managers’ current focus (leading versus lagging indicators, as an example), and the fifth one at the balance across the sales manager triangle (how well they balance the three different areas of the triangle: customers, business, and people). The sixth criterion looks at the sales managers’ compensation.

The capability assessment looks at different capabilities in each area of the sales manager triangle

Also here, the skill-based sales manager maturity level in your organization is determined by how well these skills are developed.

  • People: Coaching is the most important capability to be developed, especially for newly promoted sales managers, because effective coaching has the power to bring out the sales team’s full potential. Additional capabilities in this area include, for instance, hiring, interpersonal, communication, and listening skills, as well as hiring and resource-allocation capabilities.
  • Customers: Relevant capabilities include, for instance, strategies, methods, and processes for connecting and engaging with prospects and clients, selling, business development, and relationship development. The challenge is that their own selling capabilities have to be developed to a strategic level. Likewise, business development and relationship skills have to be evolved and integrated into the defined coaching and development practices.
  • Business: Relevant capabilities include, for instance, account and territory management, opportunity management, funnel management, forecasting, call/cadence planning, and performance management. Being fluent in all business management topics allows the sales manager to quickly assess and prioritize various requests and activities in the light of the business’s goals.


Last week, we talked about the business case for sales manager development from an “impact on performance” perspective. In addition to helping you create a roadmap for action in your organization, the sales manager maturity assessment will enrich your business case—it will create a unique portrait of your organization, which is essential to convince your senior executives.

Stay tuned! Next week, we will sum up an important and often underestimated topic: the business case for sales manager enablement!

Related questions:

  • Did you ever assess your organization’s sales manager maturity? If so, how did you approach it?
  • Do you run regular skill assessments for your sales managers? If so, what are you doing with the results?
  • What are your secret ingredients of a successful business case for sales manager enablement?


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