As the role of sales personnel changes, so too does the role of the sales manager overseeing those salespeople. Over the past 20 years or so, the role of the sales manager has evolved into a position that supports baby boomer-age salespeople, whose attitudes toward selling are independent, according to sales and management consultant Jim Pancero. Younger salespeople don't want that same level of independence; they want a coach who can guide them through the stages.
They also want more structure than the independent baby boomers. They can follow the bullets, if you provide them, Pancero says.
But they don't want to be dictated to, says Jeff Haggard, vice president of sales for Haggard & Stocking, Indianapolis, IN. They want to be a part of the process.
The most effective relationship between sales managers and the sales force is one that includes give and take. And that means that sales managers have to take the time to be proactive about sales rather than reactive, Pancero says.
Read more about how the role of sales managers is changing in Who's My Coach? The Changing Role of Sales Managers.