What are the most essential differences between sales officers/ account managers/ key account managers and a sales manager? What are some key issues sales managers face?
- Recruiting & Hiring:
Finding A players. All the time. Even when you don’t have an opening.
- Developing Frameworks:
Teaching how to find similarities and differences in sales scenarios.
Sales Rep: “We need to do a discount to get this customer!”
Sales Manager: “Well, let’s see, the last time we offered a big discount, we found out that we were just at the start of the sales process. The customer was using price as a filter to pull vendors into the committee process. If we provide the price discount now, are you sure we’re at the end of the sales process or just beginning?”
- Setting expectations:
Sales reps will sometimes fail. Some will fail consistently and must be asked to leave. Document and articulate the metrics for success and failure. Stick by the guidelines. If you set a guideline that reps must hit quota two out of every three months or go on probation, then this policy must be adhered to for everyone no matter who or why.
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“If we just had a better website…”
“If the PowerPoint deck was more complete…”
“If we set up a booth at this conference…”
“If engineering could just add these two features..”
… I’m sure that I could close those five prospects…”
Focusing the sales team to sell today’s product, not what could or should be.
Pulling up a sales rep up when they’ve lost a sales, and pushing an excelling rep to do more.
- Training & Developing:
Turning B players into A players
Turning C players into B players
Ridding yourself of C players
Never hire B & C players
Check out: “Don’t mark my paper. Help me get an A” [Link: http://www.kenblanchard.com/help…]
Developing raw skills to further sales rep careers and improving the organization. Maybe there’s a sales rep that is particularly good at talking product – they could be a future product manager. Maybe another is excels at coaching peers – they could be a future manager. Maybe a rep is developing a consistent sales channel with social media – they could be a future marketing director.
My first sales manager told me once – “Don’t forget about me when you’re president of this company.” Wow. Talk about development and motivation.
- Sales Support & Customer Service:
If that big sales presentation in Des Moines could really use an engineer or senior product manager, but neither like to travel, the sales manager influences these people.
If the contract process is consistently slow or specific clauses are always the subject of hot debate in the final negotiation, the sales manager collects these process points and determines which and how to change.
If your rep screws up, the sales manager then steps in to take the bullets. Then enforce the clear expectations that have been set.
- Settling disputes:
Lead funnels, territory battles, sales credit. Making hard decisions based on company policy and stick to it. Then changing policies that need changing. You may not be well-liked. Get used to it.
This Q&A article was originally posted on Quora. Check out Scott’s Quora page here.