It’s probably you, right?
(This is for companies where people do the selling; it’s less relevant for online sales.)
Two common scenarios:
1. You’ve always been your company’s top seller, but it has grown beyond you. You have hired sales help, but surprise surprise, they’re not as good as you.
2. You are the tech whiz of your company, but selling has never been your strong suit. You’ve got to hire other people and rely on them.
How do you get your sales people to do the job you’ve hired them for — bring in lots of sales? They need to be managed. They need a sales manager. That’s you, unless you’re big enough to afford to bring in an experienced sales manager.
Sales Manager Role
As sales manager (as well as president running the company) here’s an outline of the things you must do for your sales people:
- Hire and train qualified sales people. (Use assessment tools?)
- Define the selling job. What is to be sold and how? What part of the selling job do they handle? (E.g., close sales, find qualified and interested prospects then hand them to you). How do they interact with customers? Tell them what you want them to do.
- Provide training and support. Observe their performance; let them observe you. Give them feedback, correction, encouragement.
- Set concrete performance goals, based on results, not just activities. (I.e., sales of $____ per period, not ____ calls per period).
- Provide needed materials and systems to support the sales process. Marketing materials, scripts, checklists, etc.
- Schedule their work. When will they focus on what tasks? This is especially important for staff that have part sales duties, part other responsibilities.
- Insist that they maintain records of their activities and results, keep them up to date, and submit them on schedule. Many sales people resist this.
- Monitor their performance and progress; follow up, give them feedback and further training to improve their performance. Watch them on a regular basis.
- Incentivize desired results, through commissions or prizes. Acknowledge their success. Sales people thrive on rewards. You may build competitions among your sales staff, and reward the best producer at a team meeting.
- Hold them accountable to their goals. Establish consequences for not achieving desired targets.
- If they’re not doing the job, if they keep making excuses, let them go.
How you let your sales manager role slip
Here are the ways I hear most often:
- Letting sales people slide, accepting their excuses for why they didn’t reach their goals
- Letting them get away with not submitting detailed reports and updating the database.
Letting them drop leads and not follow up consistently.
- Letting them go after the wrong prospects, perhaps because they’re easier.
Letting them squabble with your production people — those doing the work after it’s sold.
- Letting them do “marketing” instead of selling: going to networking meetings, handling social media, writing blogs or newsletters, etc. These are all essential, but they’re not selling.
Keeping people on who aren’t producing results.
- Doing their job for them. You used to be the top (only?) seller, but now you must let them do the job you’ve hired them for — or replace them.
- Being stingy with their commissions. Your goal should be that your sales people get filthy rich, because that way they’ll make you even richer.
This is a quick outline. You should rate yourself on these items, to see how you’re doing. If you’re having a lot of trouble, tell us about it.
Hiring a Sales Manager?
Finally, if you’re big enough to hire a sales manager, this is the beginning of their job description. As Director of Marketing and Sales, you must manage your Sales Manager.