The Top 3 Mistakes Sales Managers Make—And How To Avoid Them
By Maura Schreier-Fleming
Sales managers: There is never a bad time to examine your sales management style and to see if you’re making any of these sales mistakes. If you are, it’s not too late to fix them so you can manage and lead your sales team to success.
The biggest mistakes made by sales managers
Mistake #1: Oversharing information with your team
Your salespeople, like your customers, are all different. Some are risk averse; others take more risks. Their need for information differs because of their individual perceptions of risk, and as a manager, you should keep in mind these different perceptions of risk.
You’ve probably heard of TMI or “too much information.” TMI also exists in the sharing of emails, and some managers will share every piece of information with their subordinates. Salespeople who are risk-averse will want to see all the information; risk-tolerant people don’t need as much information and would rather you filter out what they don’t absolutely need to see.
Good sales managers will have different broadcast lists for sharing information. Remember, each of your salespeople are different and they all don’t 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 work with you via Zoom or other technology. Others say they will let you know if they need you.
Treating all salespeople the same way is another mistake sales managers make. You may find that some salespeople do not like to be 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 distinguish which salesperson requires which management style.
The challenge for good sales managers is to also realize that they themselves have a preferred management style—either a hands-on or hands-off style. Just remember that your style should not be considered a “one-size-fits-all” for managing your salespeople. You need 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 your team’s overall success.
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Mistake #3: Poor communication
Just imagine if you led a sales team and you didn’t communicate your expectations to them. Or even 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 is supposed to be so you can see how effective your sales team is in executing that process.
Here’s an example: Let’s say you have defined the sales process for your team and you have included the requirements for prospect size in terms of revenue, employee numbers, and other data. Then you realize the information isn’t what you want so you change the numbers, but you never share this change with your sales team. So now you have your sales team prospecting for the wrong prospects. Ouch!
This example of poor sales management communication can cause a sales team to become incredibly frustrated. And if your salespeople talk with each other about their frustrations, their conversations will only magnify their frustrations and sales results will probably suffer. What’s sad 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 are in trouble when they can’t define it or if their definition is significantly different than yours.
About the Author
Maura Schreier-Fleming is president of [email protected], a sales training and sales consulting company. She works with business and sales professionals to increase sales and earn larger profits. She is the author of Real-World Selling for Out-of-this-World Results and Monday Morning Sales Tips.
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