Jun 11 2013
Yesterday I voiced my concerns about the poor quality – in general – of sales management today. If you missed that post, do please scroll down as it will provide you with an insight and some background for today’s post, which looks at the essential of management and also offers you the opportunity to take the “Sales Leadership Health Check” – if you dare!
What any individual sales leader actively does is conditioned by the size of their company, the products it sells and the way they are sold, the organization of functions within it, and perhaps their own special ability.
Essentially, the task of the sales leader is to produce revenue for their company through the operations of the sales staff for whom they are responsible. The size of this revenue, and the profit (however defined) which it should show, are usually predetermined in order to achieve the aims of company policy. The objectives they set for the various activities which are involved in carrying out this task should therefore be derived from, and be compatible with company objectives such as return on capital employed, cash flow, market position, growth.
In considering the most important and significant aspects and responsibilities of the role, I would summarize them like this ….
He/she is given resources – human and financial – and has to plan to use those in the most effective combination to achieve predetermined results. They can do this only by knowing their staff and understanding the nature and behavior of costs.
The way in which he develops his sales staff – whether on a general or territorial basis, or. specializing in types of product or by class of customer or end user – should derive from a study of the market, taking into account also the qualifications and the experience of the sales staff.
As products, markets and objectives tend to be continually developing and changing, training also should be a continuous process. With small sales forces, formal training presents difficulties, but the need to always seek a higher standard of performance remains.
This involves setting targets and standards for measurement of performance, and taking appropriate action when they are not met.
Motivation implies two effects on the sales staff – the right attitude to their job and willingness to play their part to the best of their ability in achieving aims set by their manager. It results partly from training/coaching, partly from incentives (financial and other) and perhaps most of all, from the leadership given by their manager. Regular appraisal of performance and attitudes by discussion with the sales force, and observation of their work are important for this purpose.
Recruitment of Sales Staff
Selecting a person who will become a successful member of the sales force for any particular company is very difficult, whether they are appointed from within the company or are recruited from outside. It is often made more difficult than it need be by the lack of an adequate specification of the job the sales person is to do and derived from this, a specification of the kind of person who might be likely to succeed. Such specifications introduce some objectivity into the selection process and provide measures of comparability between candidates.
The importance of the sales person to their company, and the considerable investment made in them justify a systematic approach to the ways in which, as a candidate, they are assessed and decisions are made about them. The validity of assumptions made about them at the time of appointment should be checked against subsequent performance, and the reasons for mistakes investigated.
The subjective element in selection will never be eliminated, and in at least one respect, it is a valid criterion. The person chosen must “fit in” to the team comprising the Sales Manager and their sales force. If they do not do so, no matter how suitable their qualifications and experience may be, friction is likely to ensue.
For a group of people to remain “consciously competent” at optimum performance levels, they require frequent injections of stimulation, motivational guidance and prompting, otherwise they can easily lapse into” unconsciously competent” or worse “unconsciously incompetent”.
Let’s never lose sight of the fact that the primary objective of every professional sales manager has to be: “To achieve consistently superior results, through the performance of every key individual.”
Ready to take that “Sales Leadership Health Check?” It will give you an instant first level report on where you are right now, and hopefully guide you to make some changes. If you ae not a sales manager/leader you could assess your boss! Here you go
News: You still have time to register for my webinar with INSIGHT SQUARED tomorrow – “Best Practices of Analytical Sales Management” It is at 1:00pm Eastern (6:00pm BST) and of course, it is FREE – Sign-Up HERE
If you are working in an inside sales role or even an inside/outside one, you really should be engaging with the Top Sales Academy. Registration is now open, and we kick-off on July 2nd. Where else can you get FREE coaching from a faculty comparable to this one ..
Trish Bertuzzi, Jonathan Farrington, Colleen Francis, Barb Giamanco, Jill Konrath, Ken Krogue, Kendra Lee, Lori Richardson, Tibor Shanto and Wendy Weiss?