The all too true answer to this is “when they’re selling”. Most of you know my position on the major role of sales managers. A sales manager has one major, overriding goal and that is to develop the skills of his or her salespeople! But, is this negotiable? Ah, therein lies the crux of the issue.
Several weeks ago I was having a dialogue with a good friend who is a director of marketing. We were talking about her business and she was bemoaning the fact that the sales managers in her company were not worth the powder to blow them up. Pretty emotional words for someone who is not prone to lashing out at anybody.
Her frustration centered around the role of the sales manager in her company. Evelyn (or so we will call her) works in a technical industry where the company has to negotiate contracts with distributors who sell the company’s products. Eve’s frustration is that the sales managers don’t know enough about the product to effectively negotiate pricing with the distributors. I was about to ask whether that was really the role of the sales manager when Eve cut me off. She said something like, “Look Schaber, I know how you feel about sales managers but our industry is different. Our sales managers have to get involved with selling and negotiation.”
I was about to get into it with Eve but, well she could talk a jumper off the Golden Gate Bridge and most times when we disagree I wind up moving to her side of the argument. She is a very talented, knowledgable. and persuasive person who knows how to negotiate.
So the question remains. Are there sales situations and industries where the sales manager should assume a greater role in the sales process or contract negotiations? I’ll answer the rheorical question by saying N-O. A sales manager is a sales manager and that’s it! The more you dilute the role the more confused the manager is and the more frustrated the salespeople are.
I’ll continue this post on the 28th.
The Final Thought: “Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not yet understood” Henry Miller