But I’m a Sales Manager, I Should Know This Stuff…

By Michael Lang

A Sales Manager and his CEO/MD were in the meeting room, and each time the CEO brought up a problem, I asked the Sales Manager to elaborate. Each time he began with, "Well I'm a sales manager, so I should know this stuff..."

Yes and No.
Yes, he's a sales manager. But no, he does not really know this stuff. The problems and challenges he was facing wouldn’t exist if he knew his stuff. I wouldn’t even call this an unusual situation.

Most sales directors and managers believe they can't/shouldn’t ask for or readily accept the help that most of them so need.

Most CEO's don't expect their sales leaders to be trainers, they expect them to arrange for the training.

Most CEO's don't expect their sales leaders to be experts in sales force evaluation and sales team selection. They expect their sales leaders to identify the tools that will help them.

Most CEO's DO expect their sales leaders to implement sales processes, create realistic metrics, hold their salespeople accountable and, coach them to be more effective. Unfortunately, most sales leaders just aren't very good at this.

I had a look at the data on about 100,000 sales managers that have been assessed, and on average, sales managers have only:

  • 68% of sales managers have at least 50% of the attributes of the accountability competency, and 16% have at least 75% of those skills

  • 43% of the sales coaching competency and only 39% of all sales managers have at least 50% of the sales coaching competency

  • Only 7% have more than 75% of the sales coaching competency

  • As little as 3% spend at least 50% of their time coaching their salespeople

The data doesn’t lie, it's clear that they needed the help, but most of them say the same thing -- "I'm a sales guy - I know this stuff...". Most of them know what their salespeople must achieve for results but beyond that, don't have the skills, strategies, tactics, experience, and understanding to help all of them do that consistently and effectively.

If you're a CEO, communicate to your sales leaders that they are supposed to get help, and you expect them to. As much as 40% of the effectiveness of the sales team is attributable to your sales managers’ skills, strengths and hidden weaknesses. The most experienced sales and client-focused organisations go out of their way to help their sales managers excel.

If you are a sales leader, get your ego out of the way and ask for the help you need. That's why we are here, to help you smash past the goals!