Monday, June 30, 2008

Successful Sales Management What Are The Core Competencies

Writen by Jonathan Farrington

Management, and particularly sales management, operates on and obtains its results from the staff that are managed. This clearly puts emphasis on the behavioural skills required to promote good human relations and helpful attitudes. These skills are developed mainly from:-

• An interest in individual needs and points of view

• Readiness to direct time and thought to analysing attitudes

• A sense of justice or fair dealing

• Respect for the personality of others

To enable the staff that are managed to develop their abilities profitably for themselves and their company, good human relations alone are not enough. The manager has to define tasks, set proper objectives, and maintain firm control. The basic skills required to do these things are:

Analytical Ability:

Information coming to Sales Managers is of all kinds, from verifiable facts to rumour. It is important to be able to sort the wheat from the chaff, to see the relevance of items of information to one another, and to draw conclusions which seem to fit the facts. Again, when a problem arises it is necessary to analyse it to seek its causes (is it a symptom of something wrong elsewhere?) and establish it's true importance.


All their decisions express the judgement of the manager on a situation or a person. Having analysed the available information he must then judicially weigh the evidence in order to decide on the best course of action. Few decisions can be wholly right or wrong. Most involve a balance of advantages and disadvantages - "Trade Offs".


What is clear to them must be made clear to other people also. They should ask themselves what every individual needs to know, and why, what reaction they expect from them, and how they will know whether it has occurred. Good communication is not only a matter of clear thinking and expression. Since it takes place between at least two people the communicator should be able to see their communication through the recipient's eyes.

However, these characteristics must be underpinned by the core competencies:

The Attainment of Targets:

• Always attaining targets by the time deadlines
• Knowing what to do and doing it, when performance deviates from plan

Ability to Get Things Done:

• A good "objective" setter, planner and above all controller
• Always finishing what they start


• The ability to work with others in a friendly co-operative manner - inspiring others to co-operate


• Having both the desire and the ability to ornate and develop constructive ideas
• A self-starter able to work with minimum brief


• Really dependable, thorough and accurate in everything they undertake

The Selection of People:

• Ability to meet manpower quotas and surround themselves with good people
• Skilled at getting the facts and making good judgements


• Produce results through others, as opposed to trying to doing everything themselves i.e. delegate wisely

Planning and Organising:

• Have written down objectives and plan in detail how those objectives will be attained
• Anticipate problems and plan how they will be overcome


• Ability to look well ahead, be a good forecaster and consider the future, its opportunities and problems that will have to be overcome


• Able to generate ideas frequently and always be working out ways and means of 'doing it better'?

'Selling' Company Policies:

• Absolutely loyal under all conditions and a 'Company Man/Woman'
• Always 'sell' rather than 'tell'

Human Relations:

• Possess the desire to develop from a "Boss" to a Leader
• Ensuring that people enjoy working for them and being a good team builder

Developing Subordinates:

• Always practicing what they preach
• Using all opportunities to show their people the benefits to them of reading, analysing, practising and improving

Problem Solving:

• A positive thinker
• Able to quickly pinpoint problems, come up with solutions and get the action going

Technical Knowledge:

• Have an exceptional understanding of their speciality area and continually striving to improve that knowledge and keep up-to-date
• Management Knowledge:
• Have a sound knowledge of modern management techniques applicable to their field and continually developing themselves in this area

Knowledge of Policies:

• Have a complete understanding of company policies and procedures


• Have a highly mature approach to most situations, have and exercise a great deal of commonsense


• Possess a zest for the job and always seen to be enthusiastic
• Smile easily and have a positive, eager and responsive attitude

Ability to Work Under Pressure:

• Be able to maintain enthusiasm and good attitudes when the going is tough


A Sales Manager may or may not be an outstanding sales person. The important thing is that he or she should be a good manager. This is their individual and unique contribution to their company

Copyright © 2006 Jonathan Farrington. All rights reserved

Jonathan Farrington is the Managing Partner of The jfa Group To find out more about the author, read his latest articles or to subscribe to his newsletter for dedicated sales professionals, visit:
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