All they have to do, apart from…

1. Set the rates for their team and coach the team to be able to deliver those rates

2. Handle disturbances and arguments on the staff, between the departments that support sales and the sales people themselves

3. Protect the sales people from the meddling of senior managers who have no idea what sales people do

4. Allow the senior managers enough information to make appropriate decisions, without getting in the way

5. Allocate leads fairly (whether this is an open practice or not) reward the high performers, and make sure the appropriate clients are allocated to the appropriate sales people.

6. Make sure the sales people are aware of whats for sale (the menu for sale) and whats not

7. Ensure the sales department is pacing correctly against target for this week / month / quarter / year.

8. Recruit the next generation of great sales people in the organisation

9. Train the next generations of great sales people in the organisation

10. Coach the current generation of great sales people in the organisation

11. Liaise between sales and the sales prevention departments, like credit control, design, production etc.

12. Plan the budgets for the year

13. Plan the budgets for the quarter

14. Plan the budgets for the month for that matter, and plan the achievement of said budget

15. See into the future to anticipate problems, before they happen

16. Deal with difficult clients

17. Close important deals

18. Serve notice on inappropriate clients

19. Entertain the key accounts

20. Remember all the key accounts names, their businesses and what products they buy from you

21. Come up with the ideas for the team sales promotions

22. Come up with the ideas for sales incentives

23. Police said incentives to ensure they are fair and only pay out when business is grown

24. Identify new business

25. Develop new business

26. Coach sales people on developing new business

27. Coach sales people on looking after existing business

28. Negotiate salaries, commissions, cars

29. Decide when to hire, and decide who to fire

30. Take the biggest target in the team (the team target) while this fact is largely overlooked by everyone.

… is to make sure the sales people are seeing enough customers. Thats right, all they have to do, apart from the above, is to manage the sales processes to make sure the sales team are seeing enough people, enough of the right people, enough times to hit the targets.

The most important job the sales manager can do, is to make sure the activity targets are hit.

More Presentations = More Sales

More Big Presentations = More Big Sales

More Annual Presentations = More Annual Sales

And so on.

The problem is, most sales managers are distracted by the above list of 30 things (and thats a minimum in most cases) that get in the way. In some senses, those 30 things are easier to deal with than trying to get a sales person out and about seeing more clients, or picking up the phone to make more calls.

So the sales manager allows this to happen, allows the distraction to get in the way, so they feel like they are doing real work. When in fact they are failing. Failing the organisation. Failing the sales people, failing themselves.

Sales management is a management of processes. More activity = more sales. Simple. It’s the most important job you can do.

To all those sales managers that consider quality to be more important than quantity. What do you imagine you would achieve if you were able to ‘manage’ to increase the activity of your quality focussed sales team? More Quality Sales? Thought so…

As always, let me know what you think by leaving a comment below, or on the Facebook page. You can tweet me @Radiojaja or even email me directly at [email protected]

  1. David James
    David James says:

    Hi Tony, another interesting thread. This is exactly the reason I went down the National Account Management route many years ago when decission time came.
    Personally I find dealing with the top 4 grocery multiples a very exciting environment to play in (it’s all a game after all).
    To me a Sales Managers role is a thankless task, and success depends on many others around you having to perform. Point 8. “Recruit the next generation of great sales people in the organisation” seems like an impossible task these days as the youngsters don’t want to carry the bag to learn the ropes, Apparently a degree removes the need for this part of the training…….
    I would be interested to hear from others regarding the quality of the new generation of sales people.
    Cheers, Dave.

    • Tony Dowling
      Tony Dowling says:

      Very interesting point about recruitment Dave, I mention it in the blog of course, but you’re right, its proving increasingly difficult to find good people. 10 Years ago media sales seemed a very exciting career and we had the pick of candidates. One needs to be very much more careful these days

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