In over twenty years in the medical device business I had 9 managers. Three were very good if not exceptional, three were OK, and three should have been tarred, feathered and ridden out of town! Thinking back on all of them I realize that I did not have any expectations of them. Doesn’t that sound bizarre? Actually, I did have expectations for the lowest three nimrods-I wanted them to stay away from me.
Is it different today? I’m not really sure it is. I’ve written posts galore about the responsibilities that sales managers have toward their salespeople. You could just go to one of those posts and flip the nouns around and get a pretty good take on what the salesperson should expect but, hey, what fun would that be? So, I’m going to put myself in the wing tips of a newbie sales guy who just started with Widget International. I’ve been in sales for 8 years, which puts me around 31. I’ve had several managers but never did figure out what they did.
The night before I started I sat down and thought about what I wanted/needed from W.I. Here’s what I’m hoping my new sales manager can do for me:
- Even though I feel that I’m a good salesperson I want the sales manager to assess my skills in the field.
- Am I as good as I think? Hopefully the manager can clue me in on my strengths and weaknesses.
- My time management leaves a lot to be desired. I am looking for direction on how to prioritize activities.
- I’ve been stuck between sixty and seventy thousand and I want to get to a six figure income.
- I tend to talk and present too much during sales calls. How do I avoid that?
- I’m not sure what my long term goals are or even should be. I could use some help defining them.
- What do I need to do to be a top flight salesperson?
- What are the chances for me to move into other areas within the company if I so chose?
I created these from memories I had from the 70’s and 80’s when I was a salesperson. These were what was passing through my brain at the time. What I find interesting is that these wants/needs were open ended, vague, lacked specificity, and were few in number. Based on what I have seen of salespeople today I don’t think the environment has changed. If anything salespeople today are in even more need of strong, organized leadership from sales management. The question is, are they getting it?
The Final Thought: “The recipe for perpetual ignorance is: Be satisfied with your opinions and content with your knowledge.” Elbert Hubbard