Sales Management: Focus On What Is Important

Because it’s not rocket science…

(Inspired by the book Sales Management Made Simple by Mike Weinberg)

A sales manager should be doing everything she can to focus on her sales team. Getting them to perform at maximum proficiency at all times. Making sure that they are focused on all the right things. It is recommended that good sales managers spend 90% of their time with their sales team. Coaching them, managing them, having one on one meetings with them, and taking part in the all-important ride-alongs with them.

 A baseball manager, for example, is  always right there with this team. Making sure that they stay motivated and inspired at all times. He is never, during the game, back in his office developing his game strategy; not at all, he is there watching every faction of the game, checking on his players to ensure that their heads are in the game, at all times. Making sure that none of them lose focus and commit an error, that could lose them the game. A Baseball manager never takes his eye off the game being played on the field. And yes, it’s the same with the sales manager as well. He makes sure that he is using his time as effectively as possible, doing his job, working with his sales team, and not letting anything else take away his focus from their performance. This is what we call focused sales management.

So, sales managers out there, I want you to think about the job you are doing. I want to you contemplate how you are spending your day. Are you as focused on your team as that baseball manager is? Or, are you falling victim to the dreaded “time drains”? Doing things that seem important…and yes might even be important, but are not as important as your number one job, which is to manage your team. Think about it and avoid time drains at all costs.

Time drains, we all have them, sometimes we even hide behind them when we don’t feel like doing what we should be doing. Are you what author Mike Weinberg in his excellent book Sales Management Simplified calls a ‘Time Dracula”, filling your days with non-essential work? Work that can, and should be, done in your spare time.  

Here are some examples of time drains. Some of the things that “Time Dracula’s”,  do that unfocuses them as effective sales managers: (these are from Mike Weinberg’s excellent book)

  1. They are slaves to email, perpetually checking and replying while living in a reactive mode.
  2. They sit in on a ridiculous number of meetings and conference calls that often have little to do with driving revenue- death by meeting.
  3. They get caught up playing either Assistant GM or Firefighter-in-Chief.
  4. They are buried with administrative and non-sales crap, get asked to create or plow through and obscene number of reports, and live with their heads constantly buried in CRM screens
  5. They don’t own their calendars, protect priorities, or plan well.
  6. They spend hours making travel arrangements, things they could be doing in the evening not during precious live workday times.

And these are only the time drains Time Dracula’s put upon themselves, never mind the time wasters that their management imposes on them!

In the end, there are only three things that a sales manager should be focused on. Just three things, nothing else they do matters as much as these three things. And these three things are:

  1. Conducting one-in one meetings with individual salespeople. These can be face to face if you have an in-house sales team, or on the phone if your sales team is in different territories. It is critical that you as the  sales manager stay in touch with your salespeople constantly.
  2. Leading team sales meetings: There are several kinds of team sales meeting: If your team in right there in the company these can be daily or weekly. Some kind of early morning update as well as an end of the day review. If your team is in different parts of the country this can be a weekly meeting to make sure that the team is informed on any company updates and also to check up on their performance to date. There is a great deal to be gained from team meetings, not just the communications but also a certain degree of competitive peer pressure that naturally occurs when every salesperson is in the same place at the same time. Then there is the all-important annual sales meeting when you review last year’s activities, review target accounts and make the forecast for the coming year. Sales meetings are a critical ingredient to successful sales management.
  3. Ride-alongs: Going along with the salesperson on sales calls. Watching how she performs, providing valuable feedback and good old hands-on face-to-face coaching.

That’s it nothing more. These are the three things a sales manager should be doing day in and day out if he is serious about running a great and successful sales team. It’s only common sense.

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