Imagine you must knock down 10 dominoes. What is the most efficient way to do that? Most people would go straight to the obvious solution: Line up the dominoes one behind the other, knock over the first one, and allow physics to handle the rest. I don’t know anyone who would choose to line them up individually and tap each one in turn. Yet that’s the way most companies approach sales training.

When there’s a problem in sales, the conclusion nearly every sales leader reaches is that they need to train their salespeople. In other words, they go directly to the individual dominoes (the reps) rather than tapping the most important one (the manager) that will necessarily impact the others. When you train your sales managers, you subsequently improve sales rep performance. It creates an unavoidable cascading effect. Your managers will know how to better coach and guide their sellers, as well as where to focus to drive the needed performance improvements.

There is huge leverage here. By training this typically overlooked group, you can boost the performance of an entire team for a fraction of the cost. And when it’s done well, the results can be staggering. For instance, we once worked with a multi-billion dollar financial services company that was experiencing bloated sales pipelines, inaccurate forecasts, and declining win rates. Rather than continue to train its front-line sellers, the learning and development team turned its attention to the role of the sales manager.

In customized workshops, we helped the company’s sales managers define a new management process, create coaching tools to structure their conversations, identify the few sales metrics that mattered, and learn new skills to execute on their key management tasks. The result: both the quantity and quality of coaching increased dramatically, and the firm more than doubled its win rate in 18 months.

In another case, a global manufacturer had an “aha moment” when reading Cracking the Sales Management Code and realized that its informal sales processes were leading to inconsistent sales execution. As part of its efforts to formalize its sales processes, the company brought in Vantage Point to help equip its sales managers with best practices for deploying the new management processes, coaching individual sellers, and improving pipeline management.

The ROI on this appeared during a fourth-quarter push for new orders. Although typically the weakest quarter for this company, they were able to increase sales by 30% over the previous quarter, which led to the biggest fourth quarter in company history—all of which they attributed to their increased sales management rigor.

These kinds of results are not atypical. They are the logical outcome of training sales managers to be excellent at what they do so they in turn help their sellers be excellent at what they do. It’s all about the impact of that first domino. It creates leverage in a sales force that exceeds the ROI attainable by directly training salespeople or even deploying other enablers like CRM. Focus on your sales manager and watch how it changes your results. It’s the literal tipping point for dramatically increased sales performance.