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How to Fix the Top 5 Mistakes Sales Managers Make

Watch your step! Avoid making these common managerial mistakes.

#1: Fail to shift from a salesperson to managerial mindset

Why It's a Mistake: Don’t get trapped in a vicious cycle. For those transitioning from a sales orientation to a management position, it can be difficult not to revert to selling mindset, especially when in a sales meeting. The new manager will feel the pressure to increase sales and productivity but remember that a manager is there to spur on his/her team- coaching, mentoring and teaching not standing centre stage selling.

Why Sales Managers do it: They enjoy selling; they think they need to do it to cover their team. They are control freaks, they have not learned the art of leveraging, and they have not been trained and mentored.

How to Fix it: Just stop! Step back and fully appreciate your new position and all the tasks you must now undertake. If a salesperson makes a mistake in a sales meeting, bite your tongue. Resist stepping back into the limelight to save the day, allow it to pass and instead work on his/her skill gaps when out of the meeting. As a sales manager, you are there to upskill and mentor not overshadow and undermined.

#2: Continually fighting fires

Why It's a Mistake: Any sales manager that continually has to deal with the same issues they resolved yesterday will become stressed, overworked and bad-tempered. Sometimes it just seems easier and more productive for a sales manager to fight the fires on behalf of your sales team, allowing them more time to concentrate on their selling. Ultimately this does not solve why the problems consistently occur. The take-charge mentality of a sales manager can cause reverse delegation- where salespeople rush over to hand their problems onto their manager.

Why Sales Manager do it It is part of their need to complete things, to feel productive and needed. Instead of coaching and holding others accountable for the task, they are just completing them.

How to Fix it: Hold those responsible for setting the fires accountable and train them in due process and procedure. Delegate any issues that arise to others, eventually your sales team will learn to instigate a new system when fighting fires.

#3: Not holding salespeople accountable

Why It’s a Mistake: If someone did not hold up their end of a bargain would you allow them to deny their actions? So why are you allowing your sales team to underperform and not suffer any consequences? Any sales manager that covers for a salesperson that is not doing what is required is only increasing their workload.

Why Sales Managers do it: Some feel the need to be liked by their team, some lack the skills or confidence to assert themselves over a salesperson, or they simply do not have the authority to hire and fire.

How to Fix it: Get trained on how to create and manage new KPI’s, processes and how to hold each salesperson accountable to them. 

#4: Hiring the wrong people

Why It’s a Mistake: Hiring on CV and interview alone is very subjective. You may find out 3-6 months down the track of the underperforming salesperson that all their contacts, talk, industry experience and passion are all smoke and mirrors. Avoid employing salespeople based on brief interviews that only assess a person character and not their capabilities, passion, skill, etc. Managers that waste time and effort interviewing candidates, which go on not to make the mark, will spend the same amount of time and effort waiting and hoping for a miraculous turn-around from that particular person. This results in a poor performance from your entire team as you then have to baby a salesperson to success.

Why Sales Managers do it: Some sales managers believe that they are an excellent judge of character, and they can assess skill through a short interview process. The sales manager will justify this method through all the time and resources they have saved; they won’t look the fool until tomorrow.

How to Fix it: Utilise sales assessment tools, click herefor a free sample. This tool will confirm that the salesperson has the right skills and potential to allow them to be successful in sales and hit the ground running.

Mistake #5: Not communicating regular feedback to their sales team

Why It’s a Mistake: Sales manager spend a lot of time with people in their faces. They serve as a first point of call, and it can be overwhelming and exhausting for them to spread their attention across so many single people. So when salespeople search for feedback, it can difficult to find the time and attention they need from their managers. Most salespeople say they want “directions and feedback” and feel self-doubt and directionless when not received. Feedback is a valuable coaching tool that helps identify performance gaps that can then be focused on in training sessions. Sales managers who fail to elect time are impacting their sales team’s potential growth.

Why Sales Managers do it: It is a matter of urgency and as face to face feedback is not seen as an urgent task it can get stuck at the bottom of the to-do list. They also lack the emotional intelligence to express themselves affectively.

How to Fix it: Adopt a sense of urgency to the task and schedule in a time each month/week to transmit regular feedback to your team. Be sure to be descriptive over judgemental and create an action plan for your sales team to succeed based on their feedback.

 Are you heading towards a prickly situation?
These are five of the basic mistakes that sales managers are making every day. The good news is that if you follow these tips and enrol yourself in a training course you can quickly fix them. Be the best you can be for your sales team and reap the rewards sooner.

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