The Sales Manager’s Guidebook contains a wealth of valuable information for sales managers, split up into 3 manageable volumes which cover the main aspects of sales management.
From the Guidebook you will learn…
So what exactly is in each volume?
Sales Manager’s Guidebook –
Sales Planning & Target Setting
Volume 1 will teach you…
Sales Manager’s Guidebook –
Leading & Motivating Your Sales Team
Volume 2 will teach you…
Sales Manager’s Guidebook –
Managing Sales Performance
Volume 3 will teach you…
Jack Welch has been voted one of the most influential managers of the twentieth century, and the effects of his style is still being felt today.
He was the CEO of General Electric (GE) from 1982 till 2001. To start evaluating his managers, Jack implemented a system of measuring performance based on characteristics that ‘graded’ them against certain criteria.
The criteria he chose were interesting in that they were different from the normal distribution of measurements within business settings. They became known as the 4 ‘E’ and 1 ‘P’ concepts, and we can compare them now to ascertain whether they are still effective in today’s critical sales world.
The first ‘E’ referred to ‘Energy’. High personal energy displayed by the sales manager is vital if their team is to follow the example. The team follow the example set by the manager, and if the energy levels are low, the lethargy is shared among the team. You need to display a hard-working attitude, yes, but the visible energy exuded at the personal level is more important to help the team keep their motivation, spirit and drive at a high level.
The second ‘E’ is related to the fact that you need to ‘Energise others‘. Naturally, you can’t do this if you don’t show energy yourself, so it’s imperative that you set the lead and example. This creates momentum for the effect of energising others to be put into place.
The third ‘E’ refers to what Welch called ‘the Edge‘. This was defined as the taking tough decisions without flinching, understanding what needed to be done and when. He recommended that, when decisions needed to be made, they were considered, determined and then acted upon. Managers who have the edge show their teams what need to be done and actively get on with them.
The fourth ‘E’ drove people to the top of the pile. Welch referred to it as ‘Execution‘ and considered it to be the most important of the four, or at least the catalyst for the other three to be effective. It requires a manager to be proactive, identifying where things are going wrong and formulating plans before they have an impact on results. The Execution manager recognises how he or she should take ownership of the matter before they have to make excuses for failure.
And the ‘P’ stood for ‘Passion’. Welch referred to having passion as the essential quality that kept the four ‘E’s working well. Without the drive, the motivation, the passion for excellence, managers fall at the first obstacle.
So, there you have the five key components that Welch stated were needed for top performing sales managers. I don’t believe anything has changed since his day and recommened we all follow that advice.
Before I sign off, here are some more tips on becoming a great sales person:
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Ok, when the sales person started with your firm, you thought that he or she was a prodigy. You then invested the time and money to get the sales rookie up to speed. You eventually established difficult, yet achievable goals and quotas.
A Big Deal
Finally, the sales person began to hit the mark. The first few times that happened, you where ecstatic! You clearly demonstrated appreciation for the hard work and dedication of the sales person with congratulatory statements, awards and spiffs. When the sales person began to achieve the numbers, it was indeed a big deal, as you know the work it requires.
The Uncommon, Common Place
Then, after the sales person begins to hit the mark over and over, week in and week out, and even with you constantly raising the bar, you know you have a winner; a superstar.
When that understanding sets in, you must be aware that often you now begin to EXPECT RESULTS that are above the norm from this person. You begin to lose the excitement and appreciation you once felt. The sales person’s uncommon sales results, now become a common occurrence.
The Thrill Is Gone
At this point, usually in sales meetings, the admiration and congratulatory recognition dissipates and it is simply the same sales star doing what he or she is expected to do. It becomes very easy to begin to take this person for granted.
You have to remember, that while the reaching that high-standard of achievement has become common place for the sales person, the effort and hard work remains. It is true that many parts of the sales process may have become easier and more routine for the sales star, continuing to deliver exceptional results, still requires exceptional effort.
Appreciate Every Drop
You have to take precaution about beginning to become lethargic in your appreciation of the achievements of those who constantly achieve. Usually management spends so much time working with and pushing those who fall short, that those sales team members that are exceeding, get little attention.
You must continue to pay attention to, recognise and truly appreciate the achievements of the superstar sales person just as if he or she achieved such success for the very first time.
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Communication, communication and more communication. No pun intended here, but for some sales managers, communication is just talk.
Effective and proactive communication is as integral to your sales team as professional training, solid sales support and even good sales people. In fact, communication is the glue that holds all of the pieces of the team’s puzzle together.
Here are three powerful tips to use to help you communicate more effectively and proactively with your sales crew.
#1 – Input
Like anything, you can only get out of it what you put into it. The same goes for your sales crew. You have to set up a system for sales people to give you their input. They must be able to feel confident that they can voice their honest opinions to you without fear of reprisal.
Do not assume that since you have a proverbial “open-door” policy , that sales people know that they can share their feelings with you. You may not be as much a part of the “inner circle” as you think you are.
Set up a system so that you know for sure that sales people can freely share their fears, grievances, wishes, hopes and dreams.
#2 – Listen
If you are fortunate enough to have those conversations where sales people can sit down and tell you the “truth” then you also have to listen, and I mean actively listen.
Be careful not to formulate an opinion or solution in your mind before you have completely heard the sales person point of view. Also, maintain deep and steady eye contact and show genuine concern and empathy.
I know that often some of the “major news flashes” that come from a sales team member, to you may be something as old as the hills that you have heard of a thousand times and been aware of for years. So, how do you listen intently and show interest, empathy and even excitement for something that is clearly old news?
Active Listening Tip
Try this, as the person is talking, take an idea or topic they have just spoken, and interject. Stop the speaker and ask if you understand exactly what he or she is saying. To do this, rephrase the statement in different words and recite it back to the sales person. This will force you to listen carefully and to reformulate the topic you must understand it. Simultaneously, it demonstrates to the speaker that you are indeed in tune and following closely.
This is an old sales technique that you should use in any conversation. Just rephrase the question or topic. Whatever you do—-listen actively.
#3 – ACT
As I mentioned, some communication is just talk. You must follow up what you say and act on anything and everything you say—immediately. To ask for input, listen to the sales team and do nothing about what they told you, is worst than if you never heard them in the first place.
Such inaction will cause team members to shut down and not trust you and create a non-productive, negative atmosphere. Sales people will feel as if you are actually working against them, hampering their efforts to make money. In sales management, action delayed equals income denied.
If you do not intend to do anything about a situation, then let them know. If you DO intend to take some action—THEN DO IT!
Talk WITH your sales team, not AT them
Communication is indeed a two way street, and talk just by itself, really is cheap.
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Every sales manager, supervisor, director or otherwise frontline sales team leader, wants to have and develop a great sales force. Everyone wants eventually to have a sales team made up of superstar sales people. We all want that sales crew in where every sales person is a high-level, top performing, consultative, executive-level super sales person.
However, I am continually surprised at how many of those same sales managers are not willing to treat their sales crew like that which they want them to become. The fact is that if you treat sales people as if they are low-level, slipshod, unprofessional slackers, what you will get is the same.
At some point, you have to “Act as if.” You have to treat people as you want them to perform. If you want responsible, successful, multi-million pound producers, don’t treat them like irresponsible, £5 an hour, children.
Here are a few tips to help you plant good seed to reap great harvest.
Start by trusting your sales people to do what they say they will do and believe that they will. On one hand, you say you believe in the sales person. You say you have confidence that he or she can achieve the agreed upon goals. Then, you stand watch like a mother hen, or establish rules and regulations that clearly demonstrate that you do NOT trust or believe in the sales person. When you do this, you can easily stifle their potential. If you say you believe, then act accordingly.
Pressure and Time
If you tell the sales person, you truly believe that he or she can achieve a particular goal before the end of the month, then don’t start jumping on his or her back after the first week. You may think you are helping to “remind” the sales person of their goal and commitment.
However, what you are really saying is, “I really don’t believe you can do this, and I must therefore keep reminding you of your commitment every 15 minutes.”
Such micromanagement of good sales people will cause animosity and an anti-productive atmosphere.
To Manage or Not To Manage
Some successful sales people become such due to their sales management. However, some sales people become successful in spite of their sales management. Do not be the latter manager.
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