Sales Management is without doubt the most important link in the revenue chain. It's also the toughest role in a company because it's where the person is squeezed between the relentless expectations of executive management and sellers who struggle to differentiate in ferociously competitive markets. Add to this the inadequate systems they have to work with and tsunami of e-mails and reporting requirements, and it's no wonder they have little time to coach on deals and mentor their team.
If you're a sales person you probably don't fully understand what your sales manager really does for you beyond approving your expenses and hassling you about the forecast. Here are just some of the things. She fights to provide you with a viable territory and achievable sales targets. She protects you from the avalanche of bureaucracy, fights for training budget, listens to your complaints and excuses, battles the organizational politics working against you, and pushes for resources to support you while also jumping in and helping you with key deals and bids.
How do sales people normally say 'thank you' to this incredible person who serves them? Forget the words used... talk is cheap. I look at what people actually do and here is a list of the common behaviors I see with sales people:
· Arriving late to sales meetings
· Rarely keeping the CRM up to date
· Inaccurate forecasting and poor pipeline reporting
· Failing to be across the detail in key deals
· Squirming out of commitments to deliver
· Reluctant to plan properly for meetings and opportunities
· Failing to utilize agreed sales methodology and process
· Rarely ensures a formal agenda for meetings
· Sends sub-standard communications and proposals
· Allows and contributes to people wasting precious time
And what does all this do for your Sales Manager beyond causing her to groan in despair? It makes her look bad in the eyes of her boss, damages her credibility and political capital internally, raises her stress levels and makes an already difficult job almost impossible, and unfairly consumes her time and energy. Leadership is about serving: sales people serve their customers and sales managers serve their team and the organization. If someone is committed to serving us, the least we can do is to be grateful. Beyond these ten common reasons to say sorry, here is why you should give your sales manager a hug: She believes in you and continues to invest her time and emotional energy in your success.
My dad passed away almost a year ago. He had an incredibly difficult, yet amazing life. He said something to me thirty years ago when I was struggling in my early adult life, and it has stayed with me: "All you need to succeed in life Son; is one person who believes in you." He was that person for me when I had my start in the world of business. The later, in my first sales job, I had a sales manager who did more than take a gamble in hiring me, he also believed in me. These two men were critical in my professional success... belief is powerful stuff.
If you don't feel it's appropriate to hug your boss... then show them you're grateful by changing your behaviors to be a leader who is self-motivated, self-learning and exemplifies self-mastery. Become a person who is all about the success of their customers and being the best employee for their boss. At the end of the day, success is about being the person worthy of it... results always follow.
Tony Hughes is ranked as the #1 influencer on professional selling in Asia-Pacific and is a keynote speaker and best selling author. This article was originally published in LinkedIn where you can also follow Tony's award winning blog. Also visit Tony's keynote speaker website at www.TonyHughes.com.au or his sales methodology website at http://www.rsvpselling.com/.
Main image photo by Flickr: Manu Praba
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