Manage Your Sales People or They’ll Manage You

Filed Under (OP Sales Training) by Don on 01-07-2008

I have been swamped these past few weeks working on catalog promo’s for 2009, creating ‘green’ flyers and getting our consumer products show in September up to speed.  I’ve been listening to sales people grumble and complain about the rising gas prices yet I don’t see them making any extra efforts to grow their business.  I can understand working smarter and not wasting your driving time but how in the heck do these people think they are going to gain any new business if all they want to do is sit at home and surf the net and send a few emails?  Salespeople are and should always be accountable for their performance.  Performance means more than just being around to send an email, it means a responsibility to the company, the customer, the company owner(s) and most especially to themselves.

Accountability, what a concept.  They are held accountable for their sales activities in the right quantities to acheive their personal and corporate goals.  You do have goals, don’t you?  Your sales manager should sit down with you and establish goals with input from you.  These aren’t numbers pulled out of thin air and the rep and management share responsbility in meeting those goals.  As a sales manager I recommend you look at the following list of things to cover with your sales people.  These are just a few to get you thinking.

  1. Total number of sales calls per week
  2. Total number of prospecting calls per week
  3. Total number of new accounts to be opened each month
  4. The gross margin expectations the company requires
  5. The number of times that you will personally work with the sales person over a given period of time
  6. The disciplined use of the company CRM package
  7. The sales process the company expects you to adhere to
  8. Expected reporting (written & verbal) procedures
  9. Bonuses and spiffs, if applicable
  10. Weekly one-on-one meetings with the sales manager

Good management and realistic expectations that even a beginning sales person can understand should ease any tension and lay a solid foundation for future success.  Note that I did not say “hope” of success.  Any sales manager that uses the word hope and success in the same sentence should be taken to the woodshed and flogged!  Once you set the standard be certain that the same rules apply for everyone, not just the newest reps.  Seasoned reps need accountability just as much if not more than newer sales people.  If you let even one slide on any of your standards then you will loose credibility with all your reps and your problems will multiply.  If you are the company owner and you either hire a sales manager or you already have one on board for God’s sake please let him do his job and don’t micro-manage every decision he makes.  The first time a rep runs to the owner’s office and complains that the sales managers expectations should not apply to them or they don’t agree and you tell them “That’s okay, you don’t have to do that,” or some similar verbage leaves your mouth then your problems are much larger than any sales manager will ever be able to fix.   Because, if you don’t manage your sales people, they will manage you.

The last word: “We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret or disappointment.”– Jim Rohn


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