8 Additional Answers
(Managing Director, Flume)
Some other mistakes made regarding managers
1) In my opinion one of the main issues with 60% of sales managers is that they probably shouldn't be sales managers. A great sales person definitely does not make a good manager or leader. As a sweeping statement many sales people are naturally selfish. A good manager needs to be focused on revenue AND people. The impact of a poor people manager can be catastrophic on a teams performance. Recruit to sales manager for the right reason, not what seems at first glance the obvious one....
2) Sales managers often assume that their view of the world is the only one and there for manage as they would like to be managed. It is rare therefore that new managers ( and old) get the most from all of the team. Understanding that each person is individual and have different core drivers and beliefs can go a long way to improving team performance....
Sorry that was only two once again....
First, most sales managers assume everyone is as motivated as they are. They aren't. New managers should assess everyone on their team's motivation with agreed upon goals.
Second, new managers have a habit of thinking their direct reports work for them. They don't. They work for themselves and report to the new manager.
Third, new managers have a tendency to try to fix everything at once. Assessing their direct report's strengths and weaknesses and then working on one thing at a time works best.
(Founder & CEO, Tres Coaching Services)
1. Not playing to their strengths. New sales managers have a tendency to move away from what has made them successful in the past, and in turn this affects how they deal with others and can create acrimony within the team. Stay true to who you are and build upon your skills, competencies, and leadership attributes to make the transition to the new sales manager role a smooth one.
2. Micro-managing your new sales reports. Building high-performing sales teams is all about coaching, mentoring and empowerment. Spend time in the tank with your individual sales teams members to assess their strengths, weaknesses and where your support is most needed to help them achieve success.
3. Making wholesale, disruptive changes before you have a clear understanding of the challenges ahead in your new assignment. Get input from all sides of the operation before making any changes, and involve the team in implementing the changes that are required, so they feel a sense of ownership and accountability.
(President, Hire Results Ltd)
Hiring - Hiring and then Hiring.
Get this right and you reduce 90 percent of your problems. The issue is that managers become too lazy in their hiring practices.
Craig Bissett - CEO - Hiring Simulation www.hiringsimulation.com
(Sales Performance Partner, Winning Sales Habits Home of the Daily Sales Coach®)
I agree with you Jim. This issue is all too common. Promote the great sales rep to a Manager's role and expect great things!
A few things that I have seen happen:
• Lack of preparation/training/coaching for this new manager before putting them in their new role
• Expectation not set or clear so they continue to focus on day to day items
• New Manager does not succeed in new role and now you've lost your best rep!!! (because they WILL NOT stay)
• Believe or not, sometimes the New Manager was not even asked if they would like or be interested in this new role. This person just accepted because 'it was the thing to do'
Again, all too common. A little training/coaching/mentoring goes a LONG way. The 'put me in and I will figure it out' method will not work anymore because most of the time they do not figure it out. The Leaders that let this happen will not work anymore either. Like it or not, Sales Leaders must be able and willing to adapt into a coaching role if they want to be successful and effective.
(Managing Director, Flume)
Two (sorry not three) traps managers set for their sales teams....
Consider first the following truths:
Customers make their buying decisions based on three predominant factors: differentiation, relationships and price. The sales team’s approach is strongly influenced by their sales manager. Sales managers are often given management responsibility because they are good at selling, not necessarily because they are great managers. 75% of people leave companies because of their managers. In businesses where staff turnover is high, the importance of managing staff becomes even more critical.
To understand the relative importance of the pivotal selling factors of differentiation, relationship and price, together with the manager’s influence on each of them, we need to consider why the client makes a decision to sign the order.
· Customers will only ever buy something from a sales person if the client believes that they have an issue or challenge that needs to be overcome.
· The customer must be aware of the problem before they can be receptive to a solution.
Here lies the first trap that sales managers fall into: they oversell to their team. When they introduce the new product, service or opportunity to their sales team they will run through the many reasons it’s so fantastic. IF they’re lucky the sales team may get to hear a little about how it will benefit their customers.
The automatic response by most sales team is to transfer this approach to their customers.
What the customer needs is a very clear reason – once the sales person leaves or they’ve put down the phone – as to why your product will meet their needs better than those offered by the next company.
Reeling off details and features can confuse customers. Sceptics may add that customers are looking for excuses not to make a buying decision and the more confusing the detail the more excuses you give them! If they’re confused your product will sound like everyone else’s and you lose the first decision-making factor: differentiation.
To overcome this the sales manager should consider how they initially portray the product information. Start by exploring the different challenges your customers face and how you as a business can solve them. This approach focuses the sales team on the needs of the customer and then how your products or services can help solve them. Now you can begin to differentiate your offer.
The Target Trap
The second trap unwittingly laid by sales managers is targets. This may be tough to swallow but I strongly believe that focusing purely on sales targets is counter productive. Consider the second way that a client will make a decision: their relationship with the sales person. This relationship needs to be genuine and based on trust and respect. Now consider the sales team who are massively under pressure to close the deal. All they’re thinking is “I need to sell this customer my product and quickly”. How will this mind set impact on their behaviour with the customer? At best a customer will be pressured into buying and regret it. At worst the customer postpones the decision or decides not to buy at all. They can see that the sales person is only selling for their benefit, not solving their problems.
With an objective that eight times out of ten is likely to fail, the sales team will become demotivated. A solution is to move the objective away from making money and towards progressing the client relationship. If you balance targets and relationship building, sales teams will be more successful.
Without differentiation and relationships, customers will only choose your product on price, so you’ll need to be the cheapest, which then has a very strong influence on the future direction and success of your company.
(President, Hire Results Ltd)
Raoul, your first comment is exactly right. I just came back from a meeting with a major organizaton. They have 240 sales managers. They know that 50% will fail. What they find out is that the majority of managers should not be sales managers. The problem is that they have no idea if the manager will succeed until they are on the job. Way too late to find this out!!
They are implementing our Hiring Simulation tool www.hiringsimulation.com
to see managers in action before hiring them.
Hope this helps.
Craig Bissett CEO www.hiringsimulation.com
(Vice President of Sales, Outré Consulting)
The number one mistake is not fully understanding the dynamics of their sales force. They need to perform a complete analysis of their operations and perform a GAP analysis before making any decisions. When they do that they will be able to leverage the strengths of the team and augment the weaknesses of team members. Most just jump in not knowing anything about the environment from which they are working.
The next thing is not have a full understanding of corporate politics. This can be deadly when you are in a position of needing assistance in your new management position.
Three would be the motivation of the team members. They fail to find out the motivational aspects, the egos, the baggage from previous management and they need to open the lines of communication.