Sales Management Mistakes That Lead to Underperforming Sales Teams

Do your sales managers know how to coach and motivate your sales people?

Your sales staff is underperforming, but you can’t figure out why. You’re pretty sure that you’ve hired the best possible talent, but some days it seems like your sales staff is the gang that can’t shoot straight. Where did you go wrong?

Inconsistency and poor sales performance can be the result of a number of factors:

 – Lack of necessary skills and knowledge

 – Inefficient pipeline and process design

 – Poor use of CRM and other tools

 – Inadequate compensation and incentives

And the list goes on…

These causes might seem unrelated. However, they do have one thing in common: it takes strong sales management to properly deal with each. The success of any sales organization is incumbent upon someone driving and managing the process. Without direction and guidance, achieving your revenue goals will be difficult at best, regardless of the talent level of your salespeople.

So what can you do to ensure that you have strong sales management in place? You can start by avoiding these three all too common mistakes:

Sales Management Mistake #1: Promoting Top Performers to Sales Managers

Top-Performing salespeople are not necessarily top managers. Leaders often fail to evaluate their best sales professionals for their ability and aptitude to manage before placing them in a leadership position. It seems like an easy decision to promote the best, but in reality you might be taking one of your most potent weapons out of the game and placing them in a position that is not well-suited for them. As a result, the company as a whole loses – the individual is unhappy, the salespeople he’s managing are underperforming, and the company is missing out on potential sales.

Solution: There are many assessment tools that can accurately predict management aptitude – use them. I find it baffling when so many firms roll the dice on salespeople and sales managers when there are quantitative, validated, and reliable evaluations available that are accurate predictors of success. Don’t assume that because an individual is a top performer in sales that they’ll be able to manage sales people. It just doesn’t work like that.

Sales Management Mistake #2: Expecting Sales Managers to Sell

A true sales manager should never sell. This is a potentially fatal mistake that can utterly demoralize your sales team. Having your boss compete for leads creates a less than desirable sales culture and raises questions of objectivity. On top of that, sales managers are often too busy working their own leads to bother coaching and mentoring the salespeople working under them.

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