The Total Sales Manager began its birth process in the summer of 2007. The embryo for the blog really started in 1983 although I didn’t know it at the time. 1983 was a good year for me because that was when I was chosen to take over a 5 person sales group. I had been one of the original reps in a small company that grew from several million dollars in revenue in 1982 to 100 million in sales in 1987. What a ride and what fun!
As my boss told me that I was going to become the company’s first field sales manager he also added, “Tom, if you have questions just give me a call”. Hey Kemosabi, I’ve got about three thousand questions! But, being young, naïve and about to crush the sales numbers with my new team I said, “No, no questions. If I need anything I’ll give you a ring.” Oh man, that was brilliant! Let’s stumble around in the dark for a while. I’ll return to this scenario in a minute.
Book-ended around this company were several others in the medical device industry spanning another 15 years. The experiences, the people, the hiring, the firing, the coaching, the travel, the awards and the satisfaction of seeing salespeople succeed were a great result stemming from the promotion in 1983.
I moved into sales training as a franchisee of Sandler System Inc., which ultimately lead to what I do now-sales management consulting. The short definition of this is that I work with company owners who, along with all their other responsibilities, are trying to manage his or her salespeople. This can lead to frustration for both the owner and the salespeople since the owner really isn’t prepared to lead your basic group of sales mavericks. I also work directly with new or inexperienced sales managers as coach and mentor.
And now back to the beginning. What happened to me in the early eighties is no different than the situation that exists today. A salesperson is promoted to sales management and, well, that’s it. There is no sales management 101 that gives the poor greenhorn some direction about what to do now that he or she is making more and has ten times the responsibilities. Company owners experience the same rude awakening. They started the company, grew it and hired salespeople. And then it dawns on them that salespeople are a different breed and managing them is challenging.
Ah, enter the Total Sales Manager. This blog is meant for all the sales managers, business owners and others who interface or are in some way responsible for salespeople. I’m slightly prejudiced but I think that salespeople are one of the most interesting groups of people on the planet. Managing them is challenging, frustrating, fun and about thirty other adjectives. My sincere hope is that sales managers and business owners will use this blog to better understand the Art of Sales Management.