Sales Management Corner: Common Sense Rule #2

Last week I mentioned that a new sales manager shouldn’t start at this position by making changes. After assuming the role, a manager should have the salespeople assessed. Too many managers want to change their salespeople without understanding much about the people they manage. Managing anyone requires that you know something about them personally and professionally. Here are a few things I’d like to know before I actively manage a person:

  • Are they aggressive or more passive
  • How will they react to a manager
  • What are their linguistic skills
  • Are they goal oriented
  • Are they overly social, which could affect their listening skills
  • What are their specific strengths and weaknesses

I used to rely heavily on my instinct to assess people. Using instinct will give you some knowledge of the outward expression of the individual but it won’t tell you much about the fabric of the individual. There is too much at stake to rely on something as whimsical as instinct.

There are more than a few assessment tools available on the market. One that I have used with success is marketed by Profiles International. The following paragraph comes directly from PI’s website and captures one of the needs for assessments.

“The most expensive problems companies deal with today can be solved (or at least diminished) with a better understanding of the people you employ. By capitalizing on an individuals strengths, you can achieve more desirable results. People with tremendous potential are hired and promoted every day and put into jobs that waste their abilities.”

As a sales manager I want to know if I have saleperson that would be better equipped to take Pork Chop Hill than dialogue with a sophisticated buyer of robotic equipment. I’d love to know if a salesperson in my region will hang on me for guidance rather than use his or her own initiative to make key decisions. It would make me crazy to have a salesperson whose laid back attitude lengthened the sales cycle by 2 months.

Knowledge of people’s strengths and weaknesses allows a sales manager to more effectively develop salespeople or move them into positions that better suit their skill sets. To me that makes incredible sense!

The Final Thought: “More important than innate disposition, objective experience, and environment is the subjective evaluation of these. Furthermore, this evaluation stands in a certain, often strange, relation to reality.” Alfred Adler


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