Using the simplest definition, sales management is managing sales people. But, let’s face it, that won’t really cut it. Among other definitions sales management is also a “black art”. Why? There are not that many resources a person can use that teach sales management. And why is that? Most companies take their best salesperson and promote him or her with the expectation that because they were a good salesperson they’ll make a good manager. I have no numbers to support this but I imagine that 40-50% of salespeople who are promoted to sales management either voluntarily leave the position or are asked to step down. Not all salespeople make good managers, but I’ll cover that in another post.
Sales management includes the following:
- Developing salespeople’s skills.
- Holding salespeople accountable for their sales behaviors.
- Career guidance.
- Observing salespeople as they sell, i.e. travel with them or listen to them if they are phone based.
- Providing a sales process for all the salespeople to use during their sales calls.
- Assess the strength and weakness of each salesperson.
- Conduct sales meetings
- Provide an information conduit between salespeople and upper management.
- Review salespeople annually.
- Provide a written summary following every time a salesperson was observed selling.
- Provide on-going training on the marketplace, the industry and sales techniques.
- Have enormous amounts of patience and listening skills.
- Maintain a balance between sales management responsibilities and family.
There isn’t a bullet point list on the planet that can’t be added to so let’s agree that this is a very representative list. It could change depending on the company, the industry, the CEO and any number of other qualifiers.
The Final Word: Sales Management Is An Art!