Sales managers are not responsible for their people! (Part 2)

In part 1 we shared that sales managers must be responsible to their people. So how do we do it? First, we recognize the three causes of failure and treat them in advance. Those causes are not knowing what the job is, how to do the job or someone or something interferes with their desire and/or ability to perform.

Knowing what the job is – So many companies and managers feel this is covered by simply supplying a job description, however, this is not the case. A person must be told:

The mission of the organization. A mission should not be an objective; it should be the purpose of the business to build people’s belief in the organization.

They should also be told the Sales Department’s objectives and how they contribute to the objectives.

Additionally, we must share their responsibilities, and the specific activities in which they must engage to accomplish them.

They should also be told how they would be measured. There are three ways to measure any job by using one or a combination of the three.

The fist way to measure is through quantity – how much do they produce.

Next is cost effectiveness – Is the business or sales profitable both short and long term.

The third way to measure is timeliness. Can the job be accomplished in a timely fashion? Can reports be submitted on time?

How to do the job – Another breakdown in many organizations are caused by two reasons. We feel our people are experienced. This leads us to only train the new people. I heard people say I’ve had 15 years experience but given the rate of change today, 15 years only equates to about 5 years at best. The next problem is we teach product knowledge and call it training.

Salespeople must be taught the skills of doing the job and allowed to practice until they are proficient. Certainly product knowledge comes into play but not just that knowledge. People need to communicate their knowledge in terms of benefits that the customer/prospect can relate to. They need to know when and how to close, how to deal with the “no” professionally and verify the customers/prospects true concern and deal with it effectively without pressure.

Another breakdown is the lack of coaching. In over 30 years I can count on one hand the number of sales managers who have raised their hand to the question: How many of you have observed a salesperson’s presentation with a customer/prospect without getting involved.

To coach effectively, at some point, we must be in a position to observe a presentation without jumping in. But the vast majority of sales managers feel it is their job to get involved to save the salesperson. They then leave the salesperson alone to butcher prospects on their own and wonder why there is no improvement.

Someone or something can interfere with their desire and/or ability to perform – Another problem in many organizations is that sales managers often provide the interference unintentionally by mis-managing. They belittle people in front of their peers, destroy their confidence and belief in the company.

Effective sales managers remove the obstacles that interfere with a person’s desire. Often these obstacles are other people in the environment, ineffective tools or supplies, sometimes prospects, even family and friends can interfere by showing no confidence in the person’s decision.

Again, effective sales managers strengthen the person to deal with these things that interfere. They strengthen people by constantly building belief in the person, the company they represent and their products and services.

We build the belief of people, as Ken Blanchard says, by catching people doing something right and recognizing it. The easiest way to recognize people is by telling people specifically what they have done right, how it makes you feel, and why you feel that way.

I could go on and on about this information and hope that what I have shared helps you be more effective. To learn more about this and many other areas of effective sales management, please explore our “Practical Sales Management Strategies for Today” multimedia training system and the process we use to implement it into your organization. It is my hope that this has helped!


Jim Strutton, CEO

Accountability Plus, Inc.

[email protected]


© 2011 Accountability Plus, Inc.

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