I’ve mentioned this many times. The job of a sales manager is one of the toughest occupations in the world. Just as with any job, part of success is skill and knowledge and part of it is the internal components of the individual.
Effective sales managers do well for many different reasons; likewise, unsuccessful sales managers fail for many different reasons. If you are a sales manager or VP, ask yourself if any of these issues have ever caused problems for you or others you know.
Failure #1: The Sales manager is not wired for the job. As you will find out, there is a formula for determining a salesperson’s capacity to perform.
There’s no difference with sales managers. Many ineffective sales managers come from the ranks of the sales team. Often, they were excellent salespeople who were moved up based on the presumption that if they were good at sales, they’ll be good at sales management. Not so.
The skill sets and internal wiring are completely different for the two professions. When a sales manager doesn’t have the capacity to perform in that role, he will fail (and many times bring the organization down with him.)
Failure #2: A good candidate for a sales management position rarely gets the chance. Poor performance in a sales role becomes a stumbling block for advancement.
Unfortunately, many of the best sales managers were, at best, mediocre salespeople. Consider some of the most successful NFL coaches. Many of them were very marginal players or never played the game at all.
They had a greater capacity to coach, communicate their vision, and lead the team than to participate on the field as a star player. Any sales organization that hires a manager largely on past performance in sales may miss out on a great sales leader.
Failure #3: The manager lacks a foundation of effective sales training. Place anyone in any position and give them no training, and what do you have? You get an employee who stays in a constant state of frustration.
Some managers don’t instinctively know how to fulfill the role. They must be given the training and resources to understand and recognize what each individual salesperson needs to help them be successful.
A sales manager who has very little dedicated training will significantly hamper the ability of the salespeople to do their jobs and reduce the organization’s competitive edge.
Failure #4: Lack of an effective selling system.
Football teams don’t go out on the field without a clearly designed play to run. Without a selling system every salesperson knows and follows, the salespeople will make it up as they attempt to move through the sales process. There’s no repeatable formula for success. Sometimes they get the sale, sometimes they don’t. Unfortunately, there’s no way to determine why they did or didn’t get the sale, and then coaching becomes a difficult task.
When the manager doesn’t provide the sales team with a clearly defined selling system, the players will squander opportunities your competitors will get.
Failure #5: Lack of an effective hiring process. Gut feelings and speculation in the selection process will limit your ability to make the right choice. Just like having a selling system for your sales team to follow is important, so is utilizing an effective hiring system.
We provide in-depth assessment tools and experienced analysis of the results to help you acquire the best sales talent possible.
Remember, it’s the sales managers responsibility to make the right judgments about hiring new salespeople. And without a defined process utilizing objective measurements, hiring decisions can end up being a toss-up.
Failure #6 – Lack the understanding of the concept of coaching. If a sales manager sees himself as strictly a manager, he can easily be driven by the administrative functions of the job: administration, spreadsheets, operational issues, etc.
A selling coach, or sales coach, on the other hand, works with the salespeople to develop them in individual areas, strategizes with them on difficult deals, holds them accountable for their results, provides feedback on performance issues, as well as course corrects before the month is over to help prevent sales failure.
I’ll say it again. Sales management is a tough job. Invest the time and energy in the right tools for the job: effective sales management training, a proven and reliable salesperson hiring process or assessment, and a powerful selling system, and you can reap the rewards of a successful sales team.
By John Benson