Sales Managers are Reporting Regulators

Sales managers are a pivot-point for reporting within an organisation.

Accurate, relevant, simple reports built around appropriate data enable sales managers to know what has happened, what needs to happen and what’s likely to happen if an individual or team maintains the status quo. Running your sales team without effective sales reporting is like riding a motorbike blindfolded.

If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it

And just as importantly, as a sales manager you need to be reporting inwards to assist leadership in making decisions and setting priorities. Reports from sales should be providing marketing with the intelligence required to develop appropriate market-engagement plans and content and R&D should be guided by what sales are hearing from the market to guide or confirm development decisions.

One of the challenges I faced in sales management was ensuring the reporting demanded of me, and that I asked from my team, was really necessary and added value to the business. All too often I found management requesting reports that were difficult to justify, time-consuming to produce and added little or no value to the productivity of the business, or my sales team. Likewise, a sales manager needs to ensure the reports that he requires from his team provide measures that help both the sales manager, the team and the individuals achieve their goals. Reporting on appropriate metrics should help identify areas for improvement, not catch people out.
Read more

Sales Managers LEAD!

Last week I was asked to comment on a query from a new sales manger who wanted to know how best to establish himself as a leader when moving into his new role. I recently wrote a post of ‘leadership vs. management’, but his question prompted me to respond more specifically with respect to a sales manager’s leadership responsibility.

Leadership has many definitions, and sadly many of these suggest manipulative behaviour that is as far from ‘leadership’ as I believe you can get. The definition I find most palatable, valuable and applicable to sales management is…

Leadership is the art of getting people to willingly strive to achieve team goals

My experience in many organisations across various countries suggests, perhaps more than anything else, that great leadership is about dealing effectively with people in a particular situation. A leader is only a leader if they have followers, so leadership is not about competently holding a position of authority, but having an understanding of the principles that underpin the actual development of, and interaction with people in relationship to achieving a goal. Read more

7 Deadly Sins of Sales

To be successful, salespeople need a healthy dose of both ego and empathy. Ego to pick yourself up after the inevitable falls and move onto the next opportunity believing in yourself. Empathy to take a walk in your clients shoes and understand what real value means to them and how it can be delivered. These traits, possibly contradictory and ego being offensive to some peoples minds, are generally accepted as being essential human tendencies in those carving a successful career in sales.

But what about our own human frailties, the one’s defined in ancient Christianity as the 7 Deadly Sins. Dating back at least 1500 years, these sins were those transgressions against the Church which were seen as fatal to one’s spiritual progress.

In this post I’ll explore the 7 Deadly Sins of Sales, the actions and errors that are a result of our own inclinations and can derail the best sales process and the bring the even experienced salespeople undone.

1. Sloth

You’ve just won that big deal you’ve been working on all year. You’ve got a ‘golden egg’ client who you can rely on to meet or exceed target. You believe you have a USP so unique you will not come under significant pressure on your bid. Such situations have led to the downfall of many a salesperson, and for that matter businesses. Slothful salespeople take things for granted. Resting on your laurels will see you failing to do the things you should be doing; failing to continue developing and and failing to keep up with the latest in your market, your industry and sales techniques. You will not be using and challenging your skills and talents leading to physical and mental laziness. This leaves the door open for competitors and missed opportunities. And regardless of your level of success, you must continue to develop your skills, build your internal and external networks and deliver superior support to your customers. Read more