Simply Sales Management for Business Owners


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Sales management is a tough job. There are too many challenges, and not enough helping hands. When things go right somebody else gets the credit. When things go wrong, the sales manager gets the blame. The CEO wants the sales forecast to guarantee revenue. Sales reps don’t want to make promises. The sales manager, in the middle, somehow takes up the slack, and carries the can.

What is it that makes sales management so hard? What makes a great sales manager? Where can business owners, worried managers, and aspiring reps go to find out what’s the best of best practice for the role?

The Internet is full of pages offering to help. But there’s a problem. It’s all so complicated.

The consulting, software, and training businesses promotes better ways of doing the traditional things, offering a bewildering array of advice.

At one end of the scale there’s the old fashioned crack the whip crowd. It’s all about confidence, tactics, and Three Letter Acronym titled philosophies. Send reps out to pitch at prospects, and close as many as they can. Don’t ask how they do it. Just make sure they bring home the numbers. Make sure they do the same thing every time, only harder and faster. Give a bonus to the guys who make it, and termination notices to those who don’t.

And at the other, there’s the systems and analysis crowd. These guys wants everything analysed. The sales manager should know his Revenue and Margin by Rep, by Quarter, his Days Sales Outstanding by territory, his Calls per Day, Ratios of Proposals to Calls, and Wins to Losses. He’ll know which reps are busy, which customers are profitable, and which products sell easily while others need discounts to move.

Somewhere in between are any number of shades of grey, including ourselves of course.

In our articles we tread a fine line between the values and value argument. We believe skills and integrity are vital to success in sales. We also believe in strategy, and processes, and systems, and tools.

And unfortunately, in trying to make sales management simple, we fail. Like everybody else, our ideas can seem complex and confusing. So it’s our responsibility to offer a simple solution, to complement the intellectual alternatives, and here it is.

“Sales management is simply a question of making sure customers will like what you do for them, and then doing it very well.”

Any sales manager focusing on this simple concept will fix those things which stop her doing it. She’ll rewrite the strategy, improve the value proposition, implement processes, and impose quality across the business.

And that’s what our theory of Reengineering Sales Management is all about.

Sales is no longer about persuading customers to buy what their business is selling. In the 21st Century its about selling what the customer is buying, in the way the customer wants to buy it. Reengineering is about changing all the factors which influence that process, including strategy, tactics, and processes and tools.

The rest of the story is as complex as you want to make it.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steven Reeves
Consultant, author, software entrepreneur, business development professional, aspiring saxophonist, busy publishing insight and ideas. Boomer turned Zoomer - thirty year sales professional with experience selling everything from debt collection to outsourcing and milking machines to mainframes. Blogger at Successful Sales Management. Head cook and bottle washer at Front Office Box.


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