Saturday, May 3, 2008

Why Do So Many Potentially Good Sales Managers Fail

Writen by Jonathan Farrington

Unfortunately, most salesmen and women believe that a successful career in sales culminates in sales management, and yet there are of course far less management positions up for grabs than sales positions. As a consequence, salespeople with this attitude concentrate on making sales rather than investing in themselves in order to become Top 5 % players and eventually most become disillusioned, resulting in a significant dip in achievements levels.

The knock-on effect of this is that good Level 2 salespeople who move into management, take with them an underdeveloped view of selling – a Level 2 orientation and as consequence they help to create or maintain an unrealistic and short sighted vision of what will be needed to develop their teams. Because they lack Level 3 experience themselves and an insight into the skills needed to make it at Level 3, the environment that they help to create fails to recognise the need for Level 3 performers and this is particularly noticeable in the compensation structures they build, which neither supports nor encourages their teams to break through that final glass ceiling. (Please see my articles: "The Three Levels of Selling Identified" and "Top 5% Achievers – What Do They Look Like?")

Good Salespeople Don't Necessarily Make Good Managers:

The single most common mistake that organisations make is promoting their number one salesperson into the role of sales manager, thereby depriving themselves in a single stroke of their best producer and hamstringing their sales force with an ineffective manager. The skills required for managing, mentoring and developing a sales team are totally different from those required for selling. As a result, it's not uncommon to find newly promoted sales managers who regret having taken a management position and may even leave to get back into sales.

Insufficient Time for Sales Team Development:

The majority of sales managers – new and experienced alike – say they do not have sufficient time to train and develop their sales teams. They are so focused on sales results – and so accustomed to achieving success through their personal pursuit of those results – that they overlook their greatest potential source of power, the power to increase sales performance by developing their people.

Providing Development for Sales Managers:

Successful Sales Directors ensure that some sort of training and development program is in place to help sales managers continually improving the way they coach and develop their team. Equally important, top-performing Sales Directors look for ways to provide sales managers with the resources they need to perform effectively. This may mean, for example, giving managers tools with which to identify each individual salesperson's strengths and development areas, providing them with an easy-to-use framework to address development areas, and putting a process in place that helps their team to implement new skills.

Opportunity to Make a Difference:

Every sales manager has a powerful role to play in developing and supporting their team members' potential so that an increasing emphasis is placed on performance management to enable more salespeople to achieve more of their potential. We have identified the eight most common reasons why salespeople fail i.e.

Wrong or no selection process = The wrong person for the position

Wrong or no training = Insufficiently developed

Wrong or no planning = Expected to do all of their own planning

Wrong or no supervision = Left without competent supervision

Wrong or no motivation = Not properly motivated to meet objectives

Wrong or no stimulation = Not stimulated by appropriate incentives

Wrong or no evaluation = Not regularly appraised against a set of agreed objectives

Wrong or no executive action = Not adequately supported by a competent manager

The Sales Manager has control over all of these factors, including the final one!

The moral right of the author, Jonathan farrington has been asserted. All rights reserved. This publication or any part thereof may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording, storage in an information retrieval system or otherwise, unless this notification of copyright is retained.

Jonathan Farrington is a business coach, mentor, author, and consultant who has helped hundreds of companies and thousands of individuals around the world achieve their full potential and consequently, optimum performance levels in his capacity as Managing Partner of The jfa Group –

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