While seasoned salespeople are highly valued for their expertise, they can sometimes pose a challenge when it comes to change. Name any kind of change—in company structure, compensation, sales territories, product lines, ownership, etc.—and it’s likely that many seasoned salespeople hate it. It’s understandable to some degree. Successful salespeople have fine-tuned their techniques and are extremely reluctant to change anything about how they work.
It’s no wonder, then, that I often hear sales managers complain: “My seasoned salespeople haven’t yet bought in to using our company’s CRM system. What can I do about it?” Read more →
As the saying goes, what gets measured gets done. How are you measuring your sales managers? One metric is, of course, “% of plan.” But you already know that.
Every sales manager wants to be provided with a clearly defined target. Give them a clear target and they will hit it. The trouble with providing them with only one metric focused on end results, such as “% of Plan,” is that sales managers can become very short-term focused. They will put their effort into chasing big deals instead of coaching. So your sales teams aren’t being built to last. Read more →
Financial offerings warn that past performance is no guarantee of future success. Shouldn’t sales managers carry the same warning?
Too many companies tend to shoot themselves in the foot by investing the bulk of their training resources on their sales reps and ignoring training for those responsible for managing their reps’ performances. Star results as a rep don’t automatically translate into managerial success.
The fact is, most sales managers have never received formal sales management training. Untrained sales managers are a big reason rep training itself may fail to bear fruit, or more specifically, to impact sales results. That hurts your bottom line. Read more →
Let’s do a countdown on the most common reasons I’ve observed about why sales managers don’t do enough coaching…
5. They mistake “inspection” for “coaching.”
When I ask sales managers to describe what kind of coaching they do, a lot of them say they sit down once a month with each rep to discuss activity level, results, and deals in the hopper. They think that’s coaching. But it’s not. It’s “inspection”—looking at something after the fact!
The word “coach” is derived from the English word, “carriage” which means to transport someone from where they are now to where they want to go. Coaching is an on-going process of direction, teaching and support. It’s not a 1-on-1 conversation every now and then about numbers. Read more →
Like most sales managers, I spent several years as a sales rep before promotion to a sales management position. Here’s what I know now that I wish I could have advised my newly-promoted self back in the day:
Your top sales rep may not be your best choice for promotion to sales manager
I had a sales manager opening to fill, and two quota-producing salespeople I was considering for the promotion. My top producer, Mike, was an exceptional salesperson. He had a “motor” that was 2nd to none and was consistently 120% of quota. He was highly competitive and incredibly hard-working. When Mike won a big sale he’d get very jazzed, but when he lost a sale he could get down in the dumps.
My #2 producer, Darren, consistently produced at 100-110% of quota. Darren was more even keel than Mike.
Naturally, I promoted Mike, my top producer because he sold more. It was a huge mistake! Read more →
Ann spent years developing into a stellar sales rep for her employer, a tech company. She had a well-earned reputation for producing results far beyond expectations. Six months ago, they rewarded Ann’s hard work by promoting her to the position of sales manager.
Now, Ann tells me she’s working harder than ever before—and yet her team’s results are mediocre at best. My words of advice to her and other new sales managers come from Sun Tzu (The Art of War), the great Chinese philosopher. He wrote: “Eventually your strengths will become a weakness.” Read more →
Why waste time and resources hiring sales people who can’t or won’t grow on the job and end up taking up valuable space on your sales team?
Unfortunately, that happens far too often. It’s true that some reps are naturals and likely will succeed in almost all situations, but those self-driven top performers are more the exception than the rule. Most reps require sales coaching to attain top skills and performance — to thrive in your sales culture — and the time to determine a rep’s coachability is in the interview with the candidate, not way down the road. Read more →
Perhaps no decision is more important for a sales manager to “get right” then the decision to hire a salesperson. Mistakes are very costly. Here are some suggestions for making your next new-hiring decision one that you will one day congratulate yourself for.
Can you see this candidate, after training and effective coaching, ranking in the top half of your sales team? If not, don’t hire the person.
Each hiring decision you make will have an impact on your team’s culture – and you need the impact to be extremely positive not negative. Read more →
We’re near the end of 2014, which makes it a great time for self-reflection. What can you learn about how you managed yourself and your time this past year as a sales manager that could help you better manage your time and your team next year? To get started, think back over the past year and rate yourself on a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (great) on the following three statements: Read more →
The Thanksgiving Holiday in the United States was passed into law by President Lincoln in 1863 so now is as good a time as any to reflect on our 16th president. I recently read a couple of books on Abraham Lincoln—Founder’s Son by Richard Brookhiser and A. Lincoln by Ronald White.
Lincoln was one of the most unlikely people ever to become president. He had no management experience, attended no more than one year of schooling, and managed his paperwork by stuffing important papers in his tall hat.
It occurred to me, however, that Lincoln possessed an overabundance of qualities that all great salespeople have: ambition, empathy and people skills. No doubt, he would have been an excellent candidate today for an entry-level sales position! And certainly, because of his leadership skills, he would have moved up into sales management.
So that begs the question: what kind of sales manager would Abe Lincoln be? You be the judge… Read more →