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Not all Sales Managers are good Managers

September 12, 2007


Ask any sales person that has sold for 5 to 15 years to rate their sales manager and they will tell you that most are fair to poor at managing them. The biggest complaint that you hear from sales people is that the sales manager does not help them make money. They say that managers focus too much on matrix and process. How many sales managers will tell you that they know that their sales people don’t want them to go on a client visit with them? If your answer is not many, your right. If you ask sales people why, they say it’s because the manager adds no value.

What makes a manager successful? First and foremost the leader of the sales team should be a respected resource. As a sales person you will need to know what your manager is good at. Observe his or her way of dealing with you, clients, prospects and know what your own skill-sets are and how you can leverage his/hers.

Look for these attributes/skills in your manager

Respectful, Good Negotiator, Good at Strategizing, Good at Positioning, Good at getting what you need done internally, Good at Discovery, Good at Tweaking your concepts or ideas, Good at Anticipating the pros and cons of your deal

Not all sales managers are good at all of these things but many are good at a few and some are great at all. Sales managers are like quarterbacks, some are accountable and take the heat with a smile and some are not. You want the one that takes the heat and serves the team. To the sales person it is not about matrix or process, it’s about closing more deals, getting better at selling and excelling at making more money.



One Comment leave one →
  1. totalsalesmanager permalink
    September 16, 2007 6:56 pm

    Great article Courtney. There are more marginal than good sales managers in the world. Probably because no one ever taught them how to do the sales manager job. Also, I believe that different industries require different kinds of managers. In my limited experience with capital equipment sales it seemed like the sales manager had a fair amount of responsibility to negotiate deals. In other industries the manager is trainer/coach/mentor more than anything else. Bottom line is, the manager should look on his or her salespeople as his or her customers. As you said they should “serve the team”. The one element I focus on for managers is that their primary role is developing sales people’s skills. The better they develop the reps the more money every one makes.

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