Sales Management – Toughest Job in the World


Sales Management – Toughest Job in the World

It's difficult to imagine a position that can have a greater impact on the growth of a company. And yet it's one of the most overlooked and least understood positions in the business world. Sales managers are in a tough spot. They're stuck in the middle between high-maintenance sales people and highly demanding senior executives. When their team is successful, they rightly point the spot light on the sales people. When the team struggles, they often take the blame and shield their team.

Here are some of the reasons good sales managers are hard to find (and keep):

•Sales Managers need to have mastered all of the things they ask their sales team to do, from making cold calls, to generating referrals, to holding great meetings, to closing deals. If they have not sold in the past they generally have a tremendous credibility issue to overcome.

•Sales Managers need to have "board room presence" so that when they share their results and update senior managers, they can quickly highlight the most important issues without getting bogged down in the details. I once saw a sales manager try to update senior management by going line-by-line through a 1,100 row spreadsheet showing all the opportunities in their pipeline - it was like watching a car crash!

•Sales Managers need to be master motivators. They need to understand each personality on their team and know which buttons to push to get the best results. It's different for every sales person and a great manager understands this and knows how to adjust their approach accordingly.

•Sales Managers understand that growing the team is their responsibility. Every quarter they can look back and say "Yes, we're asking better questions, getting better appointments, looking at better opportunities, retaining better clients, hiring better people for our team, and we're getting better results."

•Sales Managers know that they can be friendly with the people on the sales team, but they can't be friends. They maintain the separation necessary to hold people accountable and have mastered redirecting a sales person's focus to engage them in the right behaviors and activities.

•Sales Managers know that the hiring decisions they make will have long-term consequences. They understand that they need to recruit constantly and are effective at getting A-players (sales superstars) on their team. They know the cost of a sales hiring mistake is too high and they've built systems to help avoid them.

The trouble is, there's nowhere for Sales Managers to go to learn, maintain or upgrade these important skills. They have no place to turn when they get stuck, need to sharpen their saw, or just want to talk with a peer group that can understand their unique challenges. This month we've launched the Intelligent Sales CircleTM, which includes a Sales Leadership track. If you have or are a sales manager who is looking for ways to improve, please Contact Us and ask for more information.