Whether you are the owner of a small business or the CEO of a small to mid-size company, you eventually realize that, in order to grow, you need to hire salespeople. We have found that entrepreneurs and CEOs often have an innate sense of how to sell effectively. It’s what made them so successful in the first place. The same is also true for sales managers. Their ability to sell is what got them promoted to sales manager.
However, just because they know how to sell, doesn’t mean that they know how to lead a sales team. In fact, the opposite is quite often true. Small business owners, CEOs and sales managers often don’t understand what made them successful, and they often don’t know how to instill the same attitudes, behaviors and skills in the people they manage.
If you are one of these people, you are not alone. Most sales managers have no idea what their role and responsibilities really are. A good sales manager is part parent, part psychologist and part coach. Leading a sales team and being an effective sales manager is one of the toughest jobs on the planet and it gets tougher every year.
Selling has changed dramatically since the financial crisis of 2008. The biggest changes are:
- It’s more difficult to reach prospects
- Prospects do not have time to meet
- There is much greater resistance
- Salespeople tend to be invited in later in the sales cycle
- There is far more price sensitivity
- Prospects are more cautious and conservative on what they spend their money
- There is greater need to differentiate
To be effective today, the leader of a sales team must compel his or her salespeople to become more consultative or run the risk of becoming obsolete. Salespeople today must not only communicate the value of their products and services, they must “add” value. Ultimately, it is the quality of the sales management that determines the quality of the sales organization and its long-term performance.
For more insight on how to lead a sales team today, sign up to receive our FREE sales management advice by subscribing to our series on “Building a High Performance Sales Organization.” Each week you will get an email with new ideas and procedures on how to perform the most important aspects of managing sales.