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.
Judgement -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".
Communication -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.
And finally let's identify the core competencies of the very best Sales Managers
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'
Possess the desire to develop from a "Boss" to a Leader
Ensuring that people enjoy working for them and being a good team builder
Always practicing what they preach
Using all opportunities to show their people the benefits to them of reading, analysing, practising and improving
A positive thinker
Able to quickly pinpoint problems, come up with solutions and get the action going
Have an exceptional understanding of their speciality area and continually striving to improve that knowledge and keep up-to-date
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
Pick up a typical report and what words do you find? Verbs like analyse, forecast, plan, assess and schedule are used in pursuit of organisations that are efficient, productive and predictable. What set of people are required? Obviously, people who are efficient, effective, proficient, competent, productive and co-operative. But we believe we need to go beyond we need to be inspired, motivated, creators, who are enthusiastic and able to consistently deliver against our key objectives. We should be developing individuals who are not afraid to challenge paradigms, who are prepared to go that extra yard in search of excellence and who understand that success is 80% attitude and only 20% aptitude.
For a group of people to remain "consciously competent" at optimum performance levels, they require frequent injections of stimulation, motivational guidance and prompting otherwise they can easily lapse into" unconsciously competent", or worse, "unconsciously incompetent"
The primary objective of a professional Sales Manager has to be: "To achieve consistently superior results, through the performance of every key individual."
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.
Prior to setting up his own consultancy, Jonathan earned his spurs succeeding in some of the most demanding and competitive market sectors. Challenging assignments took him from the Middle East and Africa to Europe and the USA, providing him with the opportunity to work with a number of the largest and most successful international corporations including: - IBM, Wang, Legal and General, Andersen Consulting, Litton Industries and The Bank of Tokyo.
In 1995, Jonathan formed jfa with the primary objective to deliver unique leadership and sales team development programmes to both the corporate and SME sectors. Since then, he has authored in excess of three hundred skills development programmes, designed a range of unique and innovative process tools and written extensively on organisational and sales team development. www.jonathanfarrington.com