The company president called the head of manufacturing into his office, and asked a few questions.
“Don’t know,” was George’s reply.
“But George, how much does it cost to make one of our products?”
“Don’t know,” George again replied.
“George,” he asked, “what is the process for making our product?”
“We don’t have a process, sir.”
“George, what is your delivery forecast for the month?”
“Plus or minus 50% sir.”
“George, how do you train your people in manufacturing?”
“We don’t sir.”
“George, how do you measure manufacturing’s success?”
“We don’t measure it sir.”
“George, what are our quality control standards?”
“Don’t have any sir.”
“Let me get this right, George. You don’t know long it takes to make a product, you don’t know how much it costs, you have no manufacturing process, you can’t forecast product deliveries better than 50/50, you don’t train your people, you have no way to measure manufacturing success, and you have no quality control standards?”
“You’ve got it right sir.”
“The reason I am asking, George, is we have an opening for a sales manager and you appear to be qualified.”
The issue is called Process, Every Sales Department Needs One!
No one would be allowed to be a manufacturing manager if he or she didn’t have a process to deliver a product on time, on budget, with a predictable process, within a forecast, by trained people, where everything can be measured.
Why should sales managers have standards of performance that are any less than manufacturing’s; and yet it is a common problem. When a person is asked in a job interview about being a sales manager, the prospective employee promises to solve the number one problem facing all companies - - revenue; but the sales manager isn’t expected to tell management how they will do it. There are no promises; few are asked about their process.
They don’t guarantee a steady flow of revenue because their forecasting usually varies by 25-50%; they don’t train their people; and they don’t measure what they manage. The ultimate issue comes down to lack of a sales process that can be replicated in a predictable manner by well-trained people. With a defined sales process, all of the other questions can be answered.
This issue starts at the Top
To fix this out-of-control revenue issue, CEO's and Presidents must have sales management create a well-defined sales process with measurements for each step. Insist on training, accurate forecasting, and a tight adherence to a budget and sales managers will respond.
In other words, hold the sales manager as accountable as your manufacturing manager.