A new trend is taking shape in sales management
Over the last few years, we have seen more and more companies move to a control sales management style. This is particularly evident in larger companies. The theory here is if you determine all the steps necessary to generate an order and then manage the sales force to those steps, sales will increase. An added benefit is it helps executives provide more fact based revenue and profit forecasts.
Using sales automation software or CRM systems, sales management and executives count how many prospects are in the pipeline and what sales activities are being generated to produce orders. It is science over art.
A good compensation plan and a “kick in the pants”
For a long time, we worked with companies whose sales management program could best be described as a good compensation plan and a “kick in the pants”. In this scenario, the sales people determine where the prospects are and what needs to be done. Everyone is happy as long as business is coming in.
The emphasis is on selling. Those who can’t sell get weeded out over time. Quite often, top salespeople become sales managers. They make lots of call with their salespeople.
Where are the results - sales growth?
The control sales management style is in fashion. Unfortunately, the results are often not better than the “kick in the pants” style. Sales management has lots of data but no more business. In fact they are drowning in data and do not know what to do about it or with it. We call it infoparalysis. Unfortunately so many managers hide behind a process and make excuses for bad performance.
Get out of the office and lead
Based on what we are seeing, the basics remain the same. Leadership is a critical part of sales management. The proper split between management control and sales leadership is roughly 50 -50. Too much control and no principled and disciplined leadership will result in failure.
Here is the plea to sales managers and business owners. Stop hiding behind data. Break free from infoparalysis. Get out of the office and make calls with your sales people. Lead them, mentor them and coach them. Technology and counting sales calls and prospects helps but it is not a replacement for sales management leadership.