What Is Sales Management?
“Sales management is the efficient and effective use of resources to achieve results with and through the efforts of a professional sales team.”
Unfortunately most salesmen and women believe that a successful career in sales culminates in sales management, and yet there are of course far less management positions up for grabs than sales positions. As a consequence, salespeople with this attitude concentrate on making sales rather than investing in themselves in order to become Top 5 % players and eventually most become disillusioned, resulting in a significant dip in achievements levels.
The knock-on effect of this is that good Level 2 salespeople who move into management, take with them an underdeveloped view of selling – a Level 2 orientation and as consequence they help to create or maintain an unrealistic and short sighted vision of what will be needed to develop their teams. Because they lack Level 3 experience themselves and an insight into the skills needed to make it at Level 3, the environment that they help to create fails to recognise the need for Level 3 performers and this is particularly noticeable in the compensation structures they build, which neither supports nor encourages their teams to break through that final glass ceiling.
Good Salespeople Don’t Necessarily Make Good Managers
The single most common mistake that organisations make is promoting their number one salesperson into the role of sales manager, thereby depriving themselves in a single stroke of their best producer and hamstringing their sales force with an ineffective manager. The skills required for managing, mentoring and developing a sales team are totally different from those required for selling. As a result, it’s not uncommon to find newly promoted sales managers who regret having taken a management position and may even leave to get back into sales.
Insufficient Time For Sales Team Development
The majority of sales managers – new and experienced alike – say they do not have sufficient time to train and develop their sales teams. They are so focused on sales results – and so accustomed to achieving success through their personal pursuit of those results – that they overlook their greatest potential source of power, the power to increase sales performance by developing their people.
The sales manager’s role is transforming – from evaluator to developer, from expert to resource, from teller to questioner. This change is no mere tweaking adjustment – it is a 180? shift from how most sales managers manage and how they are managed. Most organisations profess to want coaching, but they don’t really do anything about it. Just as students are lucky to have one or two special teachers in a lifetime, most sales professionals are lucky if they get one real coach. Organizations don’t have role models for coaching, they don’t train for it, and they don’t hold people accountable for it. Sales Coaching by Linda Richardson
The most common danger in having sales managers who are basically super salespeople is that “relations with subordinates” including the critical tasks of development and supervision may deteriorate
Lack Of Skills And Resources
Even when they do recognize the importance of developing their salespeople, many sales managers find that they lack the skills and resources to do it effectively. It then becomes easier not to bother.
An Overwhelmed Manager
To make things worse, most sales teams consist of a number of individuals with differing levels of experience and ability, so the whole issue of team development becomes too daunting for the overwhelmed manager to contemplate.
So, there we have the five challenges, and I will summaize in a couple of days time.
Then I need to give you the answers – the formula to meet those callenges, and I will begin next week.
The panel are currently deliberating on the first monthly winner, who will be selected this week. I’ll post the results early next week, together with an interview, so that you can see what it takes to become one of the best sales professionals on the planet.
Finally, finally… to all my friends, colleagues, readers and visitors in the