What should sales managers really manage?
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- Bob, Sales Head for the North and East regions, was a tough boss and proud of it. His sales review meetings were fiery encounters. Bob picked salespeople with a good track record, set challenging targets and monitored the numbers regularly. Targets he said, will take care of themselves.
- Joe, who managed West region was a contrast. Mild mannered and affable, his focus was all on efforts. The number of sales calls, quality of customer interactions and the kind of customers you meet were his priorities. Joe went with his guys to close challenging sales calls.
- Geoff led sales for the South. To his peers he was an Invisible Man. His sales review sessions were need-based and more of the pause and ponder variety. One on one meetings were favoured for reviews, preceded by joint sales calls. “The Geoff Academy for Sales” was how they described Team South.
To Lucy, the new Country Head, the year end results were intriguing. South was leading, followed by the West region. The North & East numbers disappointed. ‘Anything to do with the style of sales management?’ she wondered.
Managing by Hope
In this approach, the Sales Manager analyses past results of each of his salespeople. And uses that to set further targets. Such analysis may not take into account the salesperson’s abilities or potential in the relevant markets. Once clear targets are set, people should not have problems achieving them. Such Managers leave it to their sales force to figure out the quantity, quality and direction of their sales efforts.
Managing by Fear
The Sales Manager looks at how many visits each Salesperson made, which customers were visited and what products were discussed. He then directs his Salespeople on the number of visits, list of Customers to call on and area specific product to promote. The Sales Manager accompanies the salesperson on calls to close deals seen as challenging, often ensuring that gaps in targets are met. People not following directions are replaced to send a clear message on the need for efforts.
Managing by Support: Secret of Sustainable Sales Excellence
Successful Sales Managers go beyond setting targets for efforts & results. They know that clear targets and mutually agreed efforts alone may not guarantee results. Inadequacies in capability produces constant crisis. So, these managers analyse the capability quotient of their team members and provide support.
Joint sales calls are used as coaching visits leading to tangible and continuous development of the sales people. Worldwide estimates have it that less than 5% of sales managers engage in coaching visits with their teams. - Join Sales Leadership In the Field to make the most of your joint visits
These Sales Managers identify capability gaps, and draw up the Salesperson’s development plan to bridge gaps in areas such as selling skills, product knowledge, effective use of Customer & Competition Information. They develop people before the output is expected. Not after. This approach lays the foundation for sustainable sales excellence.
Does this answer Lucy’s question? Talk to us about optimising your sales team, call +44 (0) 330 9000 800 or email us.