At the risk of alienating some of my regular readers who are sales managers, we are going to talk about ineffective sales management today.
I recently heard another sales consultant speak and he made a great point about sales management. He said, “A sales manager’s job is not to grow sales. A sales manager’s job is to grow salespeople in quality and quantity.” I could not agree more.
Unfortunately, there are many CEO’s and business owners who ask the sales manager to both sell and manage. It doesn’t work well. You get a half-time presence in both roles. And there are frankly additional reasons why it doesn’t make sense, but we will leave that conversation for another day.
In a recent article by Dave Kurlan, founder of Objective Management Group, Dave stated, “There is no role with a greater impact on the success of the sales force than the sales leaders to whom the salespeople report.”
Wow, that is a big statement, and a completely accurate one. We know this because we use the battery of sales diagnostic tools created by Objective Management Group and time after time the findings indicate that sales managers are not as effective with their teams as they could be, even when they actually have the requisite skills of a sales manager. Typically it is because they don’t spend enough time actually managing their people. They spend time worrying about internal issues, dealing with crises, working on strategy and the like. Unfortunately, if they just bumped up the amount of time they spent actually coaching, motivating and holding salespeople accountable, they would be more effective, their salespeople would benefit and sales would soar. But, they get mired in the easy stuff. ..the stuff that doesn’t require them to get intimate with their salespeople.
So if a sales manager’s job is to grow salespeople then why the heck are they spending so much time away from their people? I can’t answer it other than to say that we frequently find managers are only mimicking what they have seen other (bad) managers do or they were promoted to sales manager and have no idea really what to do. A manager will have far greater impact on the team if more time is spent actually interacting with the team. Even the “A” players want interaction. Ideally sales managers should be spending 75% of their time actually engaged with their salespeople. In many cases we find that the sales manager is ineffective because they aren’t trusted or aren’t respected by the team. All too often this is a direct result of not spending enough time coaching, motivating and holding the salespeople accountable. I know I sound like a broken record but I could not possibly emphasize these points enough. They are that important.
Ineffective sales management is such an important topic that I will be covering it from many different angles over the next several weeks here. Stay tuned.
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