I hear from sales managers all the time that wish they had known certain things way back when they first started managing salespeople. Some of the common misconceptions I hear are these:
- The top salespeople just need to be left alone.
- It isn’t my job to motivate the salespeople. I am not going to babysit them.
- It isn’t my place to “micro-manage” them. I don’t need to know what they do every day as long as they are producing the results.
- I can’t get my senior salespeople to use the CRM but that’s okay, they do a good job.
- My people work as hard as I did when I was a salesperson.
These are just a few among many items that tend to derail novice sales managers. I am in the process of writing a sales management book designed for the first time sales manager. Please share with me the miscues or misperceptions you had when you first started so that I can help new sales managers avoid those pitfalls. In the meantime, read our round up of additional sales management missteps below and click through to the linked content for additional details and tips.
By the way, we are starting two Fast Track Sales Leadership Programs in April. One is designed for first time sales managers and one is designed for CEOs and business owners who also manage the sales team. If you are interested or know of someone who could benefit please contact Karen Brown and pass this information along.
More Common Sales Management Pitfalls
- Hiring the wrong people and keeping them in place.
- Failing to have a consistent, repeatable sales process.
- Not caring what motivates your sales team.
- Paying attention only to revenue or business closed.
- Not spending enough time coaching salespeople.
- Spending too much time focusing on lowest performers vs. middle performers.
- Making non-strategic sales hires out of desperation.
- Using a non-strategic sales compensation plan.
- Mistaking activity for productivity.
- Engaging in activities that undermine trust.
- Treating all territories the same.
- Requiring unnecessary paperwork or reporting.
- Spending significant time doing crisis management without addressing the underlying issues.
Sources: Inc.com, BraveheartSales.com
- Top Five Sales Management Mistakes
- Sales Manager Checklist for the New Year
- Sales Managers: Never, Ever, Ever Give Up
More Common Pitfalls for First Time Sales Managers
- Relying on instinct and personal sales experience to make management decisions.
- Projecting their own motivations and experience onto others rather than understanding them.
- Devoting inadequate attention to the major gear shift between sales star and star sales manager.
- Undertaking sweeping changes right off the bat instead of first thoroughly understanding the sales team and customers through observation and communication.
- Talking more than listening.
- Being a friend instead of a coach.
Read more about missteps for salespeople promoted to first-time sales manager:
- Salesperson Promoted to Sales Manager: Watch Out for This
- Common Traits Between Superstar Sales Managers and Superstar Salespeople….Not Many
More Sales Management Mistakes of CEOs & Business Owners
- Inadequate product training.
- Unrealistic quotas.
- Unequal distribution of leads.
- Managing by control or intimidation.
- Lack of accountability.
- Not taking responsibility for lead generation.
- Managing salespeople the same way you manage other employees (vs. actively coaching).
- Failing to train salespeople to engage in a way consistent with how you want your customers to be treated (i.e., allowing aggressive or argumentative behavior).
Read more about CEOs as Sales Managers:
- CEO as Sales Manager. Do You Have What it Takes?
- 6 Rules to Help the CEO Who Also Manages the Sales Team
Do you have a good sales management mishap story, or advice that someone else could learn from? Let us know in the comments.