This is a tough topic because there isn’t a cookie-cutter sales manager template that fits for all companies.  Our experience has been that smaller-sized companies tend to expect the sales manager to carry a significant quota while larger companies expect the sales manager to manage without carrying a personal quota.  The department quota/goals are a different story.

Nonetheless, ManageSmarter.com offers up a well-constructed guide to sales management titled Executive Guide: Improving Sales from Managers to Salespeople.

A point that often gets overlooked in companies is the essence of strong sales management.  This excerpt sums it up nicely:

4. Track where your management team members are spending their time. As previously stated, good managers let their top people operate and focus on turning their “B” players into “A” players, their “C” players into “B” players or managing them out. There should be signs of steady improvement of sales staffers.

That truly is the gist of sales management, isn’t it?  This area is a pitfall for which we have seen more than one sales manager fall into.  The team is not hitting their numbers and the sales manager is expected to close business himself.  If this manager used to be the top salesperson, he or she often will revert to closing their own deals to protect themselves.  The incredible downside to this approach is that the rest of the team continues to falter and fail.

Most of the time there is a culling of the herd when it comes to the salespeople.  The sales manager is usually insulated through a handful of terminations before the Turk comes for them (to borrow a football phrase).

It is for this reason that we encourage our customers to have the sales manager manage the team.  At the most, they should only have a handful of accounts.  Anything more and they will be dealing with customer items disproportionately to improving their sales team.

One last point from the article:

1. Provide managers with information on their salespeople that is systematic and both objective and subjective. It should give them actionable insight into what areas need to be improved and how to do it.

This is an area in which we can help.

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