As a business executive, you are very much aware of the importance of sales in the overall success of the business. Therefore, you are naturally conditioned to view a sales division that is constantly missing its targets with a lot of concern. While an under-performing sales team is often an indicator of a broken sales process, it is more often than not a result of managerial problems in the sales division.
Often, we promote our top sales person to the role of sales manager. After performing well in sales, they are regarded as having the necessary experience and skills to perform well as sales managers. However, there’s a big difference between the roles of sales people and sales managers. Each role requires a very different set of skills, traits and outputs. Whereas sales people are naturally tenacious, aggressive, persistent and opportunistic, sales managers should have the ability to diagnose challenges, identify strengths and weaknesses and then coach their teams accordingly. Sales managers are not supposed to sell, they need to lead. Sales managers are also hired through a generic recruitment process or by a sales director who uses themselves as a “blueprint”.
Why Is This A Problem?
According to GrowthPlay, ineffective sales management is prone to making some of the following critical mistakes:
- They tend to focus on short term results. This is because of the failure to shift from a sales to a managerial mindset. Sales people are usually focused on making the sale and achieving short term results. However, a manager needs to consider the long term goals of the company.
- They tend to form private visions that are not compatible with corporate objectives.
- They do not look for underlying causes. One of the traits of a good manager is an analytical mind that is trained to identify the underlying causes and come up with effective solutions.
- They also tend to make their decisions based on data that is easiest to get. They do not attempt to uncover deeper insights from available data.
- They place too much confidence on thin evidence.
- They do not seek and develop good mentor models.
- One of the hallmarks of a good manager is the ability to motivate their team. However, since they are still in the sales role mentality, they expect others to be self-motivated.
What Needs To Be Done?
The first step to fixing your sales is to fix sales management. Effective sales managers should spend 60% of their effort on sales planning and 40% on coaching their teams. They need the right metrics for making sales targets. They also need to understand how team dynamics contribute to the achievement of sales targets. Sales planning means that the sales manager needs to ensure that they have the right number of salespeople with the right individual targets to achieve the company’s numbers. While having the right tools and sales processes is crucial, the team won’t succeed without a good manager.
In addition, consider this: you can have the best sales manager in the world but if you don’t have the right tools and sales process your team won’t succeed.
Scientific research over a 6 year period has proven that out of 250 top successful sales managers across the globe, there are 7 critical skills required to be a successful sales manager (©Copyright GrowthPlay). When hiring sales managers, companies should identify the critical skills required to be a successful sales manager and test them using professional skills assessment tools. These skills cannot be assessed in an interview. These tools will not only provide insights to assist in selection of potential sales managers, but will also provide developmental information and coaching suggestions for succession planning.
Do you know what the 7 critical skills are?
How Does This Fix Sales?
Hiring the right sales manager will lead to a transformation of the sales team. According to research by GrowthPlay, having the right sales management can increase the performance of the sales team by up to 200% (©Copyright GrowthPlay). A good sales manager will provide the right sales leadership and guidance required for the team to perform. Your sales people’s commission earnings will increase, leaving a satisfied sales team that you can retain. By fixing sales management your business can make budget.
We can help you fix sales by
- hiring or developing the right sales manager
- fixing your sales team
- implementing the right sales tools and processes
Click here to find out more.