I was helping a client conduct recruiting for a domestic sales management position recently. The client wanted to hire from within and encouraged its employees to “throw their hat in the ring.” There were several internal candidates for the position-some with sales experience, some with management experience all with the requisite company and product experience. None of the internal candidates had the right mix of talent, veracity and time outside the hive.
One of the more experienced candidates followed up his interview with me. He knew I had an open- door policy and would shoot straight on his candidacy. He asked me if his lack of sales experience hurt his candidacy. Field sales experience was not his Achilles heel. Experience managing remote employees was lacking and undervalued. It reminded me of a Monty Python skit from yesteryear, I wondered if he thoroughly understood the job requirements. The video is about five minutes-the first 90 seconds says it all- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMOmB1q8W4Y .
Managing remote workers requires a different supervisory skill set. These skills can be learned. How many sales reps under plan do you think call and ask for help? Very few, most are looking for a place to hide until they can recover. One of the more sensitive parts of a sales manager’s job is raising visibility to the underperformers, providing them coaching and the necessary tools to get on track again. These are tough, but necessary conversations. If you don’t address them the salesperson will continue to flail…and drag the whole team down.
Sales Managers routinely speak with the members of the field sales team about specific deals or the encounter of the day when they are falling short of plan. Don't gloss over the macro problem and immerse yourself in today's dilemma. This is usually not a sales process problem it is a sales management process problem. http://www.jimthomasintl.com/blog/short-circuiting-the-sales-process.
A competent Sales Manager sets a structured series of meetings with members of the sales team. They establish a cadence and a communication style with their team. There is not a one size fits all style of communications. One must adapt your style to fit the relationship and the salesperson, just like my little buddy below.
My normal sales management contact process is:
Do you want to have a free fifteen minute discussion on remotes sales management tactics? Sign up on my web site http://www.jimthomasintl.com/ or contact me directly by phone.