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The Sales Manager Who Does It All

First of all, the title of this blog is misleading. Second of all, even if it weren't, it wouldn't be a good thing.

No matter how big their sales organizations are, sales leaders who assume they are responsible for solving every problem generally fail to achieve the ultimate objective.

Generally, new sales managers want to make their sales teams feel they are delivering value and are determined to help salespeople on their various tasks, problems and complaints. These sales managers often attempt to become the main cog in their sales organizations. Nothing can be further from the primary goal.

First, sales managers must recognize that it is their job to make salespeople independent of them, not dependent on them. Whenever I find that the sales manager is the first and last person to leave the office, I sense an issue.

Second, when I review "to-do" lists for sales managers and find topics that don't belong there, I again suspect a problem with lack of salespeople dependence.

The ideal sales manager shows up on time, takes a nice lunch break and leaves before his or her sales team. How does this happen?

  1. As I've written before, focus on hiring only quality salespeople.

  2. Sales managers must recognize it is not their job to make quota every month -- it is the salespersons'. Once this is clearly understood, the next elements fall into place.

  3. Every six months, each salesperson must create a personalized business plan. This is more than a simple forecast, but a plan on how they will achieve their quota. In fact, I like to suggest they forecast three times their quota.

  4. The 90-day sales training plans are prepared each quarter, with dates, times and topics carefully designed. Salespeople or other individuals within the firm are assigned the responsibility for delivering the training. The sales manager only plans the training.

  5. Individual salesperson reviews are held once a month, formally each quarter.

  6. The Monday morning sales meetings follow the pre-planned agenda/format and are positive events.

  7. Sales contests are fun and are planned on a yearly basis.

  8. Individual salesperson coaching on sales skills occurs during regularly scheduled sales calls, not just whenever it happens.

  9. The sales manager has figured out the recipe for the business. They know what metrics to measure to comfortably predict revenue and each salesperson knows and measures these metrics themselves.

The main theme is: Be under control. There are systems in place, the salespeople know the plans, they are held accountable and fully understand that management is there to support them, not take care of them. 

If you want a more complete list and to help you develop a prescriptive approach to sales management, go to our Web site and download a free whitepaper "The Job of Sales Management."

Posted by Ken Thoreson on March 12, 2012