If sales are lagging, salespeople are failing, no one is traveling with salespeople (front of customers), maybe it is time the company president relinquishes the reins of presidential sales manager. There comes a point in the company’s growth when the president needs to focus on presidential things and leave sales management to a professional sales manager. No, I didn’t say promote the best sales person and make them a manager.
Salespeople need care and attention. Inside salespeople need more care and attention than outside salespeople. Both groups need a daily dose of coaching. If you have a part-time sales manager you'll get part-time results.
Just because the company president knows how to sell doesn’t mean he or she can be a part-time sales manager and succeed. This is small company stuff, that all companies have to go through and outgrow.
- Does the presidential sales manager for outside salespeople travel with the sales people at least once a month? This can add up to several weeks a month with travel time.
- For inside sales, does the presidential sales manager listen in on sales calls several hours a day?
- Does the presidential sales manager have time to coach the inside salespeople, listen to issues and complains an hour or more a day?
- Are failing salespeople being coached to excel? Often the presidential sales manager judges the salesperson just by the numbers, tells them to make more calls, and fires those that can’t respond fast enough.
- Are salespeople that do not make quota, but are kept on the payroll for months (years?) because no one has the time to rehire and fill the slot? Does the presidential sales manager say. “I’d rather keep a poor performer on payroll rather than have no one in the job?” This is called putting up with bad breath rather than no breath.
- Is the presidential sales manager only brought in on troubled sales where discounts are asked for and given quickly because the presidential sales manager has the authority? Everyone wins on this sale, but the company. The sales person gets a commission. The customer gets a discount. The company present feels like a hero, and the CFO gets taken to the woodshed because the margin has been trampled on.
- When new sales people come into the company, do they get the proper new product training, sales training for your products and industry, and hours of coaching on sales calls? Usually, the presidential sales manager is too busy so sales training for new people delegated to the number one salesperson (which cramps their numbers), or a sales engineer or customer service manager. (Yes, it does appear unreal when you read it, but it happens.)
There are upsides to the president playing sales manager; he or she is closer to the customer. Presidents in this role get to really know their salespeople (if they are doing the job right). There comes a time, however, that the entrepreneur must reluctantly step back and for the good of all future growth and hire a professional sales manager that will spend 100% of his or her time to manage sales for the company.