How To Identify A Weak Sales Manager

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

office discussion
There are few things more exasperating than employing someone who you have to micro-manage or continuously direct to get results.

That person who started off so well, or had all the right things on their CV, starts to make you wonder why you picked them in the first place.

So what are the identifying marks of a weak sales manager? If you ignore the signals the damage done to your sales team can sometimes be irreversible as they will become demotivated very quickly.

How can you, as Sales Director, determine the signs that have to be dealt with?

Here are just a few:

Poor Results

This is the obvious one, but can be insidious in its impact.

You measure your management team on the results they achieve. That’s ultimately what a sales manager is there to do. They are there to manage and improve sales performance.

It’s what they do with the results that really matters

You need to get a clear low-down on what’s happening when the results aren’t as they should be.

A strong sales manager will identify what is under their control and work with that information to plan for changes that can be assessed, measured and influenced.

A weak manager will look for reasons and excuses.

They will try to pass responsibility onto the sales team or the economy or the client base or the prospect leads, or anything that takes the spotlight of themselves.

Be aware of what the response is from your sales manager when they try to explain away the results

Holding On To Past Successes

No matter how successful sales managers have been in the past, it doesn’t always figure that they will take those successes into the future.

Managers have to learn from the past so they can apply those ideas in the future.

All markets are changing quickly, so if your sales manager keeps trying to repeat things that happened in the past, they may miss the opportunities those changes can bring them in the future.

A weak manager will keep harping on about what results they achieved before.

Strong managers will learn lessons and apply those in an evolutionary sense in the future.

Blaming Results On The Poor Sales Team

It’s easy to pass the buck.

The sales manager isn’t out there in the field so, just like a soccer manager who can’t do the job for his team when they are playing, they can’t micro-manage every minute of every salesperson’s day.

It’s the response you get from the sales manager when things aren’t going 100% well that will determine their strength.

A weak manager will blame the lack of training opportunities or the poor systems that the team have to use.

A strong manager will lead by example and will come up with ideas that will help the team progress, as they are accountable for results and want to provide opportunities for their teams to succeed. They will run dynamic and successful sales team meetings that motivate and develop all of their people.

Not Planning for Growth And development Of Their Team

All salespeople need to see chances for growth as they progress in their career.

A weak manager will not create those chances via coaching and mentoring, but will leave the development of their team up to the training department or wait for a suitable outside Sales Training Course to come around.

A strong manager will have a continuous development plan in place, carried out regularly with new research ideas and personalised coaching sessions.

Recognising that the growth of the sales team is the responsibility of the sales manager will help everyone take the right initiatives

Not Taking Their Own Development Seriously

Managers who succeed recognise they have to take personal responsibility for their own career and the development of their own skills.

Weak managers will leave their learning to experience and the ‘university of life’.

They won’t seek out new videos, podcasts, DVDs, books, research papers and the like, that will help them build their skills and become someone of real value to your company.

Strong managers recognise they are in charge and will have a daily and weekly improvement programme that will take them above managers in other sales companies.

They will write articles, link up with other sales managers and clients, contribute to blogs and drive their career forward by keeping up-to-date with influencers in their industry and beyond.

It’s not difficult to identify weaknesses in your sales management team.

Complete a sales audit on their skills and match them up against some formal Sales Management Training.

What you can also do is commit to assisting these managers to assist themselves in growing, developing, enhancing and promoting the skill-sets of themselves and their sales teams. You can achieve this for free with our Sales Manager’s Guidebook.

That way, they are less likely to make excuses when things aren’t as good as they could be.

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training

Sales DNA

Originally published: 18 October, 2017

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