Is your sales manager balancing priorities properly? How do you know?
Today a big question faced by most executives is, what is my sales manager doing and what should he or she be doing? Right now, this is more important than ever. Two priorities should always take the bulk of your sales managers’ time.
Priority one is hiring. Yes, hiring. I am tired of hearing executives say to me, “Well, of course, we have the regular 80-20 rule; 20 percent are really good and making their numbers consistently and the other 80 percent are inconsistent, one month up, one down.” Why is this OK? Why is this an accepted practice?
The most common reason for this is a simple one. “We have six territories to fill and we have salespeople in each of the territories so we have no hiring need.” What? Looking for sales superstars is something that is ongoing and constant. If you found someone better than your best person tomorrow, wouldn’t you find a place for them? So, why are you not constantly looking for that? Your sales manager should spend no less then 30 percent of his or her time on all that—hiring, looking, phone interviewing, doing assessments, in-person interviewing, etc.
Priority two is coaching. Who do we coach on our team to get the most from them? Most sales managers would tell you with the A players to help close deals, then they would tell you with the Cs since they need the most work. I would tell you the B players will give you the biggest bang for your buck. Coaching should take up about 40 percent of your sales managers’ time.
Let’s identify what each of the players are. A players are typically about 20 percent of your sales force. They are consistently hitting their numbers and don’t allow excuses to get in their way. B players are good strong salespeople, have good attitudes but really need some help to reach the next level and are open to it. They’re probably about 40 percent of your group.
The C players are excuse-makers, blaming others for their failures, and are inconsistent in their sales numbers. They make up about 20 percent of your sales force. Also, my own observation only, I often notice these are the reps that have been around for a long time and either have fallen in success and been OK with that or have always been average at best but have been in the organization for a long time so they have simply moved along. These are typically about 20 percent as well. Get rid of them!
Greta Schulz is president of Schulz Business, a sales consulting and training firm. She is the author of “To Sell is NOT to Sell.” For more information or free sales tips, go to schulzbusiness.com and sign up for “GretaNomics,” or email sales questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.