The Fundamentals of Sales Management

Treating the Sales People Well

What then is good sales management?  It’s something akin to the Southwest Airlines’ model of sales management.  When the entire airline industry is reeling under the blows of skyrocketing fuel prices they are the only airline to have registered profits in 2008.  Instead of mulling over job cuts and travel fare hikes the managers have stood behind their sales staff and treated them like family.  Whenever an employee had a problem or an employee had an issue with a customer the managers came to their rescue and together they sorted out the issue.  They have followed the simple rule, “treat employees the way you wanted to be treated”.  That’s the fundamental rule of sales management.  A sales manager should be a mentor, guide, and a leader to their team.

Does the sales person shift their gaze to the side when they see a customer approaching?  Do they suddenly remember that they have to restock merchandise instead of greeting the customer and getting interested in his needs?  A Retail Customer Dissatisfaction Study conducted by Wharton’s Jay H Baker Retail Initiative confirms that the biggest saboteur of profits menschen im vertrieb is a disinterested sales force.  When the customer is dissatisfied a good sales manager checks their sale staff first.  Recruiting the right sales personnel, providing them adequate training, making all required knowledge accessible to them and motivating them to achieve their sales targets with enthusiasm – all falls under the ambit of responsibility of a sales manager.  Half of the sales team management problems wouldn’t arise in the first place if the recruitment process is solid and weeds out people that may turn out to be incompatible to the organization and a sales role.

The fundamentals of sales management includes first knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your team.  Is each sales person on the team entrusted with the kind of sales they are capable of?  Are they motivated enough to do well in good times and tackle the tough times?  Is a sales person compensated well for their achievements?  Does the sales manager listen to their suggestions and give feedback?

If there is a problem during a call the sales manager should go on “buddy calling”.  Buddy calling entails that the manager would accompany the sales person on a call but let them do the job and intervene when the going gets tough.  This gives the manager insight in to the way that sales person works and the sales person learns from the manager – on the job.