5 Things I Wish My Sales Manager Would Remember

I’ve have been the manager. And I have been the managed. Frankly, neither is easy. In sales, as in almost all professions, there can be a natural tension between management and employees. As leaders, sales managers need to take the initiative in building strong, successful teams. With all that is on their plates, I think sales managers often forget some basic things. Here are 5 things I wish they’d remember:MA_00000006_fwj0rh

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Remember to Sell Me, Not Tell Me

Most sales manager were once salespeople. Usually, they were good ones, which is why they got promoted. But I’ve seen so many sales managers forget the basics that got them to the job that they’re in. Would any good salesperson expect a client to do something simply because the salesperson said so? Of course not. And yet, many sales managers expect their teams to complete tasks or be enthusiastic about an initiative simply because the manager said so. Sell me on it. If you get me to buy in to your idea, then I can’t be stopped. Use your excellent salesmanship, not your position, to get me on board.

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Remember what Number Matters Most to Me

I get that the company has numbers to hit. I actually enjoy knowing where we stand as a team. However, just knowing those numbers might not be enough to motivate me. I get that they keep you up at night, but you’ve got to remember that the number that keeps me up at night is the one on my paycheck. If you want to motivate me by giving me team or company numbers, don’t forget to connect the dots back to how my contribution will mean success for both of us.

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Remember that I Can’t Have All the Answers

When I first started in sales, I had a manager who would ask me questions I could not answer. He would want to know the details of why certain clients or prospects were doing what they were doing. It was information I simply didn’t have and couldn’t legitimately get. He was frustrated. I was frustrated. There has got to be a better way for managers to engage their team members than to make them feel dumb and ill-informed. Sales managers need to think about how they ask questions and when they ask questions to maximize their information gathering while also minimizing the sales team’s angst.

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Remember that I Really Want Everyone to Play by the Same Rules

Seniority matters. Special circumstances happen. And some things can’t be public knowledge. So, the way a sales team operates will not always be fair and equitable. There will be times that someone needs extra space and grace. I’m fine with that. That’s not a problem. In fact, that makes me more loyal to my sales manager because I know if something happens with me, I’m likely to get treated well. The problem is when all the members of a sales team don’t play by the rules. When attendance and activity policies, for instance, aren’t equally enforced, it won’t take long for members of the team to notice and begin to wonder why someone else can get away with something that they can’t. It’s never good when members of a sales team are wondering those kinds of things.

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Remember that You Do Impact Morale

I once had a manager tell me that morale among the sales team was not his responsibility. I could not disagree more. What a sales manager does – changing the comp plans, adding additional busy work, showing favoritism, being overbearing – can have a negative impact on team morale. A sales manager who doesn’t appreciate his or her impact on the mood in the office runs the risk of losing their team altogether.

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No matter which side of the desk you sit on, the sales process can be improved when there are clear expectations, strong communication, and a ton of trust between a sales manager and his or her team. A strong team needs a strong leader, I wish sales managers would remember that.

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