Why Aren't Top Salespeople Automatically Great Managers?
Posted Monday, April 17, 2017 by Jules VanSant.
Solutions to the Sales Leader’s Problems
Most of us would agree that the sales leader sets the tone for results. However, do sales leaders get the support they need to ’make it happen’? One of my trusted colleagues, Suzanne Paling, has some great ideas from her new book, ’The Sales Leader’s Problem Solver’. The below interview with Suzanne will reveal some startling realities that you might recognize.
What inspired you to write The Sales Leader’s Problem Solver?
Every year, I see successful salespeople get promoted to a sales leadership position. They receive little or no training and are expected to excel at their job on day one. These sales leaders put in long hours, trying to figure out what to do.
While they need guidance on handling common sales management problems, few work with a mentor who has real sales management experience. Most wish they had a toll free number for a sales management hotline so they could talk to someone and ask questions. I hope my new book The Sales Leader’s Problem Solver provides some of that help and assistance, coaching and mentoring.
Why don’t companies offer sales managers training?
Sales training gets put in the budget, sales management training does not.
Most sales managers are former salespeople. Company leaders think the former rep is segueing into a very similar position and if they were good at sales they will be good at sales management. They’ll figure things out. They don’t need training.
In reality, the two jobs have almost nothing in common.
How do these untrained sales leaders attempt to solve problems?
Sales leaders have a “heart to heart” with a rep about a problem. The rep improves for a period of time, the sales manager gets busy, the rep reverts to their old behavior and they’re back to where they started.
The other reps see this happen and start taking the manager less seriously. A culture of non-accountability develops.
What prevents sales leaders from solving a problem?
Three primary causes for this situation exist:
The sales leader knows how to lecture and threaten but lacks the skills to solve the problem.
Busy answering 300 emails, sitting in endless meetings, and getting bogged down with all the data in the CRM system, they can barely keep up with the job as it is. It takes time they might not have to address a problem with a rep.
Then you have the hiring dilemma. Right now, there’s a shortage of good salespeople. If they address the problem and the rep doesn’t start improving, the rep will quit or the sales leader will have to terminate their employment.
Either way, how many weeks or months will that take to find a suitable replacement? The sales leader decides that putting up with the rep might be the better option.
Why do sales leaders keep hoping things will change?
If the company has a decent product, good benefits and a lucrative compensation plan, many sales leaders feel like that should be incentive enough. They say to the rep, “During the interview process you said you were money motivated. So go do what’s necessary to hit quota.” They hope the rep wakes up, realizes what a good situation they have and starts doing what’s necessary to achieve their sales goals.
What do sales leaders need to understand to be successful?
Among many, many other things you must:
- have a repeatable recruitment and hiring process
- schedule regular coaching sessions with reps
- understand each salesperson’s individual motivations
- devote most of your efforts to top performers
But above all else, managing sales people means sitting in judgement. You have to be able to hold reps accountable and take appropriate action when goals aren’t met. Some people find that concept very difficult to deal with.
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About Lisa Magnuson:
Lisa Magnuson is an expert in corporate strategic sales and TOP Line Account™ revenue building. As a respected sales consultant and author, Lisa works with clients to build successful strategic sales programs that drive revenue from large new accounts and enable growth from existing high value customers. Learn more at www.toplinesales.com.
Lisa D. MagnusonCorporate Sales StrategistLisa@toplinesales.comwww.toplinesales.com
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