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Five Must-Do's for Sales Managers

by Mark Deavall - September 2011

"Sales drives the company" is a phrase that we have all heard often. And it's true - if we don't have sales, we don't have a business. Sales produces revenue and we are in business to produce revenue.

So with this thought in mind, we set out on a "journey" amongst our top 25 clients to see what they are doing in order to reach the sales revenue figures that are required by their sales budgets. The results were not surprising at all, and yet when we communicated them to the rest of our client base, there were some raised eyebrows!

The result of this journey was a simple answer - sales managers drive their sales. It is not the representative or salesperson that drives sales, but rather the manager. I don't believe that this is in any way a revelation, but it is a fundamental of an effective sales team and deserves some exploration.

So the question then is this: "what does a sales manager do in order to drive sales?" Let's see if we are able to answer that question.

1) Good sales managers employ the right people - not everyone can be a sales person, just as not everyone can be an accountant or doctor or nuclear physicist. Good sales managers are very careful about who they employ. They look for people with zeal and hunger, with a high energy drive and an attitude of permanent optimism. Good sales people make good sales teams.

2) Good sales managers train their salespeople to close deals - too often the sales training provided is geared mainly toward product knowledge. This is necessary, but it doesn't help that the salesperson is a product specialist and yet is unable to close deals. Companies don't pay sales salaries for the knowledge that the sales person has. They pay for the deals closed.

3) Good sales managers focus 80% of their time and attention on the prospecting pipeline of their salespeople - sales is not about techniques or tricks. Sales is a numbers game - the more customers I can get in front of, the more deals I will close. I don't have to be a particularly good salesperson. I just have to push the numbers. So good sales managers understand "pipeline management" and apply it rigorously!

4) Good sales managers make sure that reward is equal to results - yes, I said results and not effort. A good sales manager manages effort, but rewards results. Because results create revenue!

5) Good sales managers cull their team ruthlessly - by its very nature the sales environment is intolerant of poor or even average performance. Good sales managers make sure that they cut out the poor performers at an early stage.

These are the five things that the sales managers in our top 25 companies are doing on a daily basis to ensure that sales budgets are being met. And these are the same things that top sales managers around the world are doing.

Sales managers are not there to close deals on behalf of poorly recruited and poorly skilled salespeople. Sales managers are employed to drive sales, the life blood of all businesses!

I trust that you have found benefit in this article. If you would like to contact me or have me talk to the people in your company, please call me on 27 11 609-1264, or e-mail me

For more articles, go to Mark’s blogs and on Twitter at 

This article is protected by international copyright law. If you would like to copy this article for any reason, please be sure to copy the entire article including this line.


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