Having worked for people that have left me feeling demotivated, and those that managed to get the best out of me, I feel this is a question any budding Sales Manager should ask themselves – who’s side are you on?
The answer could determine not only how successful you are as a Sales Manager, but how much of a difference you can make in the careers of those you manage.
Let’s face it, any of us that have worked in sales management for a length of time have all been there… the business needs to earn more revenue and the director(s) are looking at you, to ‘crack the whip’ and get you sales executives / telesales staff jumping after each lead, maximising each call!
You know your role is to enforce this new, higher output way of working, but hang on…
- Did you clarify how much more is needed?
- Have you checked what that means for each member of your team?
- Have you agreed suitable rewards to compensate for additional output, such as higher commissions or time off?
No? Shame on you – as the Sales Manager, it is your job to protect your team (your babies) as well as improve the sales performance of the business! Not understanding what is required of your team and how feasible it is before communicating the request, is a sure-fire way to lose respect and could even result in a poorer performance. A good manager, however, will negotiate expectations that are viable and realistic, and where not possible, manage expectations.
Any good Sales Manager can rely on their team to help them through the times when sales are low, and business is tough, to pick up the phone and hit numbers when they are needed the most. And they do this through solid communication and a real understanding of what is required, why it’s possible and what they all need to do together to get there.
A bad manager (or ‘messenger’ as I like to call them) will simply relay the same message that was told to them… “do more”! Remember this old classic… “Guys, the powers that be said we need to increase output by 15% this month, so the targets have just gone up…”
You need to think about your team to be a good Sales Manager, think about what each of their aspirations are, why do they come to work (other than money), why they stay and more importantly, what drives them to succeed?
Without knowing this, how do you expect to motivate them, or get more from them when times are tough? How will you be able to relay the message and demands of the business to everybody in your team unless you understand what drives each of them, and whether it is even feasible in the first place.
A leader doesn’t bark orders and expect results, a true leader shows how things are done, nurtures each player in the team to achieve what they can for themselves and instils a sense of positivity into each of their staff through great communication, trust and leading by example.
Before pushing the ‘new directive’ to your sales team, think for a second, who’s side are you on? The answer… neither, you are the Sales Manager. You work for and with your team, both on the side of your staff and that of the company. You are the link between the two that helps them work in harmony.
Here’s a link to a fantastic blog on the subject by Selling Power:
The Seven Qualities of Top Sales Managers
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