Many sales managers, particularly new sales managers, have trouble striking the right balance between managing reps and letting them do their jobs. Too often there is micromanagement and not enough of the right kind of management.
Poor Sales Management and Micromanagement
Early in my own career as a sales manager, I would spend a lot of time going over the numbers and reminding my reps where they were at in terms of the quarter. I would regularly tell them what they need to do in order to hit their numbers including making specific calls and when, and what to say to close sales. My old habits as a sales person were hard to break and I was talking to my reps as if I was talking to my former self as a sales person (see The Differences Between Hiring A Sales Manager vs. Sales Producer). I quickly learned that I was adding little useful value, when one of my reps chastised me for telling them what they already knew.
Great Sales Management
It took a while, but over time I learned that if I hired good sales people and provided the right level of management, I could let them do their jobs and provide support where required. By this point, my main areas of focus were:
1. Accountability – Setting goals and holding reps accountable (See more on accountability here – Accountability – the Key to Success in Managing Sales Reps
2. Systems and Structure – Sales processes, protocols for customer and prospect engagement, and rules for tracking and reporting (See more on structure here –
7 Habits of Highly Effective Selling Orgs)
3. Coaching and Communication – Helping your reps develop and be successful requires regular interaction and constructive feedback (See more on interacting with reps –
Habits of Highly Effective Sales Leaders)
Along the way I also learned ways for our team to have fun while we were driving hard towards our sales goals – this prevented burnout and made sure that I never had a problem attracting or retaining great sales people.
To your success!
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles | Freedigitalphotos.net
Eliot received his B. Comm. from Carleton University and has been honored as a Top 40 Under 40 Award winner.
He co-authored Sales Recruiting 2.0, How to Find Top Performing Sales People, Fast and provides regular insights on sales team management and hiring on the Peak Sales Recruiting Blog.
Latest posts by Eliot Burdett (see all)
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Transitioning from sales rep to manager is hard. You have to re-train yourself to be a manager; how do you talk to your team, how do you help them without micromanaging, how do you handle your new-found power? It takes time to become a good manager and a lot of that is just simply learning how to handle your role and be a manager, not just a sales rep.