In my last article, Crisis Management Hampers Sales Managers’ Effectiveness, I discussed the shocking amount of time that many sales managers are spending on crisis management. I conducted a rough poll of business owners regarding this topic and provided a list of possible ways that the sales manager could be spending the bulk of his or her time. Much to my disappointment, the vast majority of the business owners polled indicated that their sales managers spend the bulk of their time in crisis management. This is valuable time that they could be spending coaching and motivating their salespeople to improve results, or holding their salespeople accountable to agreed upon activities to produce better results. Instead, they are caught putting fires out.
Sometimes we dump all the crisis management on the sales manager because he or she is charged with growing sales, so it would be likely that they would be passionate about solving problems to get deals done. But, this is really a productivity/operational issue and it needs fixing.
If you are serious about sales growth, then you need to get serious about the expectations set on the sales manager. There needs to be an expectation about how much time is spent on the critical items of coaching, motivating, holding salespeople accountable, recruiting and mentoring. And, there needs to be an expectation about how much time is too much time to spend on crisis management. My belief is that more than 5% is too much time. If the sales manager has to spend more than 5% of his or her time on crisis management then something is broken and it needs fixing ASAP.
So have your sales managers rank where they are spending their time based off the list below:
- Holding Salespeople Accountable
- Crisis Management
- Internal Company Issues
- Managing Compensation Plans
- Direct Selling
Then it is your job to remove the barriers that prevent them from spending 80% of their time on coaching, motivating, holding salespeople accountable, recruiting and mentoring.