By Maura Schreier-Fleming
Sales Managers: There’s never a bad time to examine your sales management style and see if you’re making any of these sales mistakes. If so, it’s not too late to fix them so you can manage your sales team and lead them to success.
Table of Contents
The biggest mistakes made by sales managers
Mistake #1: Sharing too much information with your team
Your salespeople, like your customers, are all different. Some are risk averse; others take more risks. Their information needs differ because of their individual risk perceptions, and as a manager you need to take these different perceptions of risk into account.
You’ve probably heard of TMI or “too much information.” TMI also consists of email sharing, and some managers will share every piece of information with their subordinates. Sellers who are risk averse will want to see all the information; risk-tolerant people don’t need that much information and prefer to filter what they don’t absolutely need to see.
Good sales managers have several broadcast lists to share information. Remember that each of your sellers is different and they don’t all need to see every piece of information.
Mistake #2: A “one-size-fits-all” management approach
Do you treat all your customers the same? I certainly hope not. Some customers require more face-to-face on-site meetings, while others prefer to collaborate with you via Zoom or other technology. Others say they let you know when they need you.
Treating all salespeople the same way is another mistake sales managers make. It may be that some sellers don’t like being micromanaged, while others prefer extensive input because it gives them confidence that they are on the right track. Your job as an effective sales manager is to discern which salesperson needs which management style.
The challenge for good sales managers is also to realize that they themselves have a preferred leadership style – a hands-on or hands-off style. Remember that your style shouldn’t be viewed as a “one-size-fits-all” for managing your salespeople. You have to have the flexibility to do different things in different situations. Flexibility in sales management will contribute to your success as a sales manager and ultimately to the overall success of your team.
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Mistake #3: Bad communication
Imagine you were leading a sales team and you didn’t communicate your expectations to them. Or worse, what if your expectations change, but you don’t see the need to explain your new expectations to the sales team?
Some sales managers expect their sales team to sell without providing a sales process. However, without a sales process, you are not communicating your expectations to your team. It’s management’s job to communicate what the sales process should be so you can see how effective your sales team is at executing that process.
Here’s an example: Let’s say you’ve defined the sales process for your team and you’ve included prospect size requirements in terms of sales, headcount, and other metrics. Then you realize the information is not what you want, so you change the numbers, but never share this change with your sales team. So now you have your sales team looking for the wrong prospects. Ouch!
This example of poor communication with sales management can cause a sales team to become incredibly frustrated. And if your sales reps talk to each other about their frustrations, their conversations will only add to their frustrations and sales results will likely suffer. The sad thing is that many sales managers don’t even realize they are the cause of this.
To determine if you have a communication problem, look at your sales process and ask your sales team to define it. You’re in trouble if they can’t define it or if their definition differs significantly from yours.
About the author
Maura Schreier-Fleming is president of Best selling, a sales training and sales consulting company. She works with business and sales professionals to increase sales and earn bigger profits. She is the author of Sell in the real world for extraordinary results And Sales tips on Monday morning.