In this economy, there has never been a greater need for outstanding sales managers. They are critical differentiators for sales driven companies.
We can characterize many sales managers into categories. I know there are more. Even good managers can fall into these stereotypes.
The Loveable Hands-Off Sales Manager
Everyone loves this one except those who care about the organization’s sales performance. These sales managers spend most of their time taking care of administrative and compensation issues for their salespeople. They provide ongoing support for everyday problems and not much else.
We have seen more and more of these lately. The manager spends endless hours in meetings, filling out paperwork and counting sales activities and orders of each salesperson. Forecast management and accuracy is a major concern.
This manager is like the Checker but more damaging. They relentlessly bully their sales team and threaten through fear and intimidation. They rarely take any responsibility or accountability.
This bird from headquarters is an old favorite. These are the people that occasionally make sales calls with salespeople. They make huge promises and then never follow up. The mess left by the Seagull is left to the salesperson to clean up.
The School Teacher
This manager has not been in the trenches for a long time. They spend their pontificating, preaching and spewing sales rhetoric.
The Process Manager
This manager thinks that everything a salesperson does can be put in a specific work process. Carefully analyzing and measuring each step of the sales cycle is how this sales manager spends their time. In tough times, they hide behind their process and eventually fail.
This is the closer. The Egomaniac sales manager rudely takes over sales calls from their salespeople. The result is that the customer is antagonized with overly aggressive behavior. This manager often leads customers to competitors.
The Empty Suit
No one can figure out how this person even got the job. They offer no value. Perhaps they are related to the owner of the company.
This sales manager acts as if they are running for office. They constantly manage upwardly within the organization. A common behavior of the Politician is that they return their boss’ emails immediately but cannot be counted on to respond quickly to their salespeople or customers.
The Great Sales Manager
Hopefully, every salesperson gets one of these in their career. The earlier in one’s career; the better.
These are those rare people who consistently lead and coach their sales teams to high performance. They know the business, engage customers, take on tough problems, inspire and lead. They manage each salesperson fairly and appropriately.
It is certain that most sales managers do not fit completely into any one stereotype. As there are certain behaviors to aspire to, there also behaviors to avoid. If you know any other stereotypes or categories that you have seen, let me know.