There are many deadly sins that managers can fall foul of if they are not careful, which can be really damaging for their team and for their own performance within their role – such as failing to listen to their team, behaving as though they are more important than everyone else and not being clear about what they actually mean to name but a few.
Sales Managers, however, can often fall prey to a whole host of other deadly sins which can have a really devastating effect on their business as a whole. After all, the business relies on the sales team to bring in the revenue, and as a sales manager you are responsible for the performance of this team – so imagine how frustrating it can be to realise that you could be damaging the sales team and the amount of revenue they bring in by committing any one of the following sins.
To be blunt, you can be an effective manager but an ineffective sales manager all at the same time, so take a good look at the list below and consider whether you have ever committed one of my 8 ½ deadly sins of ineffective sales managers:
1. Ineffective Coaching
Coaching is what the Sales Manager does to help the salespeople make sales. Effective coaching provides specific reasons for placing sales calls, and post-call analysis that offers concrete suggestions for improvement. Ineffective coaching provides generic reasons for making any sales call, no structure for the process of moving through a sales call to the close, and the post-call analysis assigns blame or criticism.
As a Sales Manager, you need to coach your sales team by showing that you really care about your team, recognising their achievements openly, motivating them to work harder and through leading them by example.
2. Ineffective Motivation
Ineffective motivation includes creating a culture of fear, where the threat of losing their jobs hangs constantly over the salespeople’s heads. Whilst fear is a powerful motivator, if it is your only motivator, it loses its effect. People are also motivated by recognition, incentives, accomplishment and approval.
Effective motivators use the appropriate motivation for the situation, motivating people to not only stop doing what they shouldn’t be doing, but to keep doing what they’re doing right. When motivating your team you need to remember that money is not always the prime motivating factor – you need to really understand what motivates them as individuals and work these incentives into your management style.
3. Ineffective Accountability
Sales Managers with effective accountability ensure that salespeople understand what is expected of them and achieve or over-achieve with these goals. Sales managers with ineffective accountability allow salespeople to under-perform, to offer excuses rather than take responsibility, and to have no objective means of measuring results.
As a Sales Manager, the buck stops with you. If you don’t show your team that you trust them to get the work done, give them a clear list of priorities and a deadline in which to meet these targets, and motivate them to do a good job every day then they will never take responsibility for their own goals – and you will be left will a highly inefficient sales team who are happy to blame all of their failures on you.
4. Ineffective Staffing
Effective Sales Managers keep the high-performing sales staff they already have, and increase the productivity of the lower-performing sales staff, whilst recruiting new sales staff to replace those who leave or are let go.
Ineffective Sales Managers have a high turnover, wait until there is an opening before recruiting a new salesperson, hire low-performing salespeople, or have unrealistic expectations of how long after being hired it will take for a new salesperson to really begin producing good revenue for the company.
Choose your sales team wisely because you cannot truly achieve and excel in your role without the backing of a solid, determined and high performing sales team.
5. Ineffective Relationship Building
The stereotype of a salesperson is someone who wants to be everyone’s friend. Friendships are ineffective relationships for a sales manager. Instead, a sales manager must know how to create and sustain productive working relationships with every department within the company, and with key customers.
Although you need to maintain a professional relationship with your sales team, you also need them to respect you and believe in you as a manager – otherwise you will find it very hard to manage and motivate your team. Your team will respect you as a manager if you lead by example, include them in certain aspects of the decision making process and take a real interest in their ideas to help improve and progress the department.
Making your sales team feel valued and showing them the respect they deserve will do wonders for their confidence as a sales person, and will encourage them to meet their targets and goals.
6. Ineffective Tactics
Tactics are the best-of-breed methods of identifying and closing sales. Effective sales managers know how to identify the tactic appropriate for a given situation, and how to apply it. Ineffective sales managers rely on personal experience or guesswork to help them navigate the minefield that is the modern day marketplace.
You need to teach your sales team how to prospect for new leads, how to approach new prospects, how to work through the sales process, how to overcome any objections they may face and how to close more sales. As a Sales Manager, you should have a list of best practice tactic and techniques for dealing with prospects and clients, and you should also have the experience of what works and what doesn’t so you need to share this knowledge with your team in order for them to succeed.
7. Ineffective Strategies
Effective strategies take a company from where it is now to where you want it to be in the future. Ineffective strategies include blindly repeating the strategies that got you from where you were to where you are now, or failing to create any strategy at all.
Your team needs to know what is expected of them in their role, what their monthly/annual targets are and be given clear guidance from you on how best to reach these targets and how to succeed in their role.
8. Ineffective Processes
As mentioned in Deadly Sin #1, an ineffective or non-existent process can impact many other areas of the sales function. Effective processes give both the Sales Manager and the sales team clearly defined roadmaps of actions to take that will help them to achieve their desired outcomes.
As a Sales Manager, you need to develop a winning sales process for your business and ensure that your sales team understand what is involved in this so that they can succeed in their role. Without a sales process in place you will find it very difficult to measure the success of your team or to manage the department as a whole.
8.5. Ineffective Morale Building
Finally, the half-sin is allowing your sales team to fall into a state of poor morale. Poor morale can be caused by bad leadership or poor performance. If a Sales Manager takes care of the 8 areas above, morale should take care of itself. However, as a Sales Manager you can give it a helping hand by refusing to give in to negativity, and focusing on the success and productivity of your team.
Author credit: Managing Director of MTD Sales Training, Sean McPheat is regarded as a thought leader on modern day selling, management skills and business improvement. Sean has been featured on CNN, ITV, BBC, SKY, Forbes, Arena Magazine and has over 250 other media credits to his name. Sean’s Sales Blog is visited by 5,000 people every week and his 6 Sales Training Audios are free to download. Click here to follow Sean online.
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