I’m highly qualified to share on this topic. I could write a book. You see, at one time, I was a highly ineffective sales manager. I’d hit my quotas often enough to hold on to the sales management position, but I had constant turnover and didn’t lead my team to their potential. More often than not I got in their way rather than helping my team achieve new levels of success. Here’s some of what I did wrong.

Managing Salespeople Like they were a Project

Managing a project can be a step-by-step system that seldom changes. Every time the activity is repeated it can be done successfully the same. I thought it was the same for managing salespeople. I thought what worked with one would work with everyone. What I failed to factor was the human equation. You don’t manage people like a project. You must consider individual motivations, learning styles, and knowledge, and form a plan specifically for each salesperson.

One Strategy For All, and All For One

I thought if a sales strategy worked with one client it should work with all clients. If one target audience responded to a sales strategy shouldn’t it work on all? No. Instead of teaching universal sales techniques I should’ve spent time training how to determine each audience’s pain, what problems they had, and how to solve them.

Goals Based on Results, not Activities

I was religious about sales goals. I conducted sales goals sessions monthly with every sales rep. Sales and marketing set weekly goals, and the organization had yearly goals that were tracked month-to-month and compared to the same month from the previous year. However, when I reviewed goals I focused on the results, it was either you didn’t hit your goal so next month you need to do more sales volume or congratulations you hit your goal.

What I should have done was tied the results to activities. If a sales rep hit their goal, I should’ve recognized and reinforced the activities to repeat. And when they failed to meet their goals I should’ve pointed out activities to improve or eliminate. I should’ve asked where the salesperson needed help or training.

How Effective Are Your Sales Management Activities?  

Are you leading people or managing projects? Do you set goals based on activities to continue, eliminate, or improve or do you strictly look at the results? Do you believe one sales strategy fits all of your clients and all of your sales team? If so, you’re walking the streets I paved, and those streets lead to disappointment. The good news is if you recognize these behaviors in yourself, you can change. I did. I eventually became a highly effective sales manager. If you’d like to talk about sales management, please reach out to me. I’d love to chat.

If you found this helpful you’ll find similar posts under TKO Brandwire Blog: Sales and Marketing   

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