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Ten deadly sins of sales staff management

Gary Harvey //September 30, 2011//

Ten deadly sins of sales staff management

Gary Harvey //September 30, 2011//

Sales managers need to be leaders. Knowing how to inspire, motivate, coach and hold sales people accountable for their behaviors is the foundation for improving sales. Skill sets for success as a sales manager are not always the same as skill sets for successful sales people.

Making the top-producing sales person the sales manager might be seen as a reward, but without the skills and regular management training, the previously successful top sales producer can become a disaster.

I have read reports that nearly 75 percent of today’s business-to-business salesperson have never sold during an economic downturn. If there’s a downside to the longest business expansion in U.S. history (the 90’s), it’s that an entire generation of sales professionals have worked all of their professional lives knowing nothing about selling in hard times and how to deal with them. It’s not surprising that unskilled sales managers with no training can commit many of these fatal errors without recognizing why sales fail to increase.

Here are my 10 deadly hiring/managing sins:

#1 Not using all the data you can get. Never use “objective” assessment tools to evaluate your sales people.

#2 Neglecting to develop/train the sales people you hired and manage. Would you want your doctor operating on you without training? Then why wouldn’t you want you and your salespeople trained when they are “operating” in the business world?

#3 Focusing on the results rather than the behavior, attitudes and beliefs. Results start and end with beliefs, whether positive or negative beliefs.

#4 Refusing to accept personal accountability for the behaviors and production of your sales force. Stop blaming and be willing to look in the mirror and acknowledge that you might be part of the sales shortfall problem.

#5 Managing all your sales people the same way. You’re different. Why wouldn’t they be and therefore mange each of them differently.

#6 Condoning Incompetence. When others see a manager do this, it sends a message loud and clear that you don’t want sent.

#7 Focusing on the problems rather than the objective. As they say in the Marines, we have no problems, just opportunities. Is your focus mainly on problems making you lose sight of the objective/opportunity?

#8 Being a buddy not a coach. Need for approval managers are more concerned about wanting their salespeople to like them rather than be their manager/mentor/coach, etc. See # 6 and why need for approval also allows incompetence.

#9 Not setting standards and never ranking your sales people by anything other than revenue. Who cares what the revenue is if the revenue brought in didn’t meet the company standards ? 

#10 Recognizing only the top revenue producers and then only once a year at bonus time. Human beings need recognition, and more than once. Give strokes to all your people more often, and you’ll be amazed what results you see.

Bonus Tip #11 Forgeting the importance of leadership. Your salespeople don’t need another friend. They probably have many already and maybe even a dog as their best friend. They need and want a leader and look to you for that.
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Gary Harvey is the founder and president of Achievement Dynamics, LLC, a high performance sales training, coaching and development company for sales professionals, managers and business owners. His firm is consistently rated by the Sandler Training as one of the top 10 training centers in the world and he has been awarded the David H. Sandler award, awarded to the top Sandler trainer in the world. He can be reached at 303-741-5200, or [email protected] .