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How are your sales managers selected? In most cases, sales managers are chosen because they are experienced salespeople. Most sales managers have never received formal training in sales management, according to Jim Pancero, speaking at the Fluid Power Distributors Association and International Sealing Distribution Association joint meeting in Florida last month.
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Pancero, who provides B-to-B sales and sales management training to distributors, said the job of a sales manager is to make sure each of the salespeople achieves more than they would if they were left alone. But how do you maximize the effectiveness of your sales management when they are often bogged down in day-to-day tasks? The first step, according to Pancero, is to help them rearrange their priorities and time commitments so that they can actually spend time coaching and strategizing with their salespeople.
Examine how much time they spend on administrative, special pricing order tracking or problem resolution. Look at this combined with the time needed to attend to newer or under-performing salespeople and it’s easy to see why sales managers are overwhelmed, Pancero said.
After reprioritizing their time, provide them with more training as a sales manager – a job that requires a different set of skills than most salespeople have.
As Steve Deist and Tim Horan wrote in the MDM article Strategic Sales Management: “… you can no longer leave relationships solely in the hands of individual sales reps, no matter how capable they are. You can count on strong individual sales reps to do things right, but it is up to you to make sure they are doing the right things.”
Related: Sales Management Essentials