If I were a salesperson and my manager had checked on my performance with a customer or prospect I would have been ready to take on the manager with 8 ounce gloves but…….
Sales management comes with a great deal of uncertainty. You hire a rep, acclimate them, train them, work with them and then cut them loose. If you’ve done a good job then you feel certain that the individual gets it and does what they are supposed to do. But……..
You own a company and have just hired your first rep. You acclimate them, train them, work with them and then cut them loose. If you’ve done a good job then you feel certain that the individual gets it and does what they are supposed to do. But……
You are a first time sales manager and you have inherited a group of 7 salespeople. You have been told that they are a solid group and are doing a good job in the field. You’ve worked with them and everything looks OK. But…….
As a sales manager I never “checked” on my salespeople. My assumption was that if I did a good job of training and coaching and the salespeople were high quality then why bother following up with customers or prospects about how the reps did their job? Doing this seemed to me like ratting on a friend or spying on a sibling. It didn’t feel right. But, is there another way to do this without guilt and without bringing down the wrath of the reps if they find out?
I think there is. Bear in mind that I never did this and I don’t know about the ethics or legality of it. I would announce to my reps that I was going to do a random sample of customers and/or recent prospect calls. The goal would be that I wanted to determine how happy our customers were with the company, the product and their sales representation. And also to determine what the company needed to do to better serve the customer. If prospects were concerned then the goal would be to determine how they perceived the company, the product and the method in which the product was presented.
With this approach you, as the sales manager, are not sneaking behind the backs of the reps, which I would not do but you are taking the temperature of the people who buy the product and interact with the salespeople. And what’s wrong with that? Nothing in my opinion. The sales manager’s job is to be forever vigilant about how the salespeople represent the company. Who else can you depend on to give you reliable feedback but customers and prospects?
I tend to trust everybody but……
The Final Word: Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. Martin Luther King