Sales managers come in all shapes and sizes and can be some of the most influential people in a sales organization. But while some sales managers can be exceptional mentors who change the lives of the salespeople who are lucky enough to work for them, others can do the complete opposite, making their employees’ jobs more difficult and in some cases, miserable.
Ultimately, this difference comes down to being an amateur sales leader or a professional one. Being amateur oftentimes has little to do with how long one has been in a management position and more to do with self-awareness and views on leadership. Regardless, amateurish behavior from sales leaders needs to end. Here are the eight worst behaviors:
1. Not knowing the numbers
Sales leaders need to know all of their team’s metrics, including what their goal looks like broken down into daily accomplishments and a comprehensive understanding of the entire sales funnel. This allows them to tweak areas where they may be falling short and adapt as needed.
2. Using only negative reinforcement
This is probably the most common mistake amateurish sales managers make. Some level of negative reinforcement is understandable, but it needs to be balanced with the right level of support and positive reinforcement. There are lots of changes happening in the workforce, and one of them is the understanding that employees need to be treated well and nurtured in ordered to succeed. The days of all stick and no carrot are coming to an end.
3. Kicking back and relaxing
You cannot expect to have your sales team working their butts off while you just sit back and relax. The best sales leaders are hard working and set the right example for the rest of their sales team. If you’re in your office with the door closed, surfing ESPN all day, it’s doubtful anyone will take you seriously or respect you when you ask them to step up their efforts.
Another counterproductive leadership technique is micromanaging people. Not only does it make it more difficult for people to grow and thrive, but those being micromanaged will end up resenting you. Give people the tools and support they need to succeed, but don’t loom over them for 7 hours every day.
5. Focusing on the wrong things
There are things that move the needle and things that don’t. Good leadership involves knowing the difference between the two. Amateurish leadership is focusing on trivial things that don’t help people accomplish their goals to the detriment of everything else. Figure out what your team needs in order to be successful and focus exclusively on those things.
6. Refusing to take responsibility
If your team doesn’t succeed, you might want to blame their efforts or their abilities. This might feel like a natural response to most people, but great leadership accepts all responsibility for their team’s failures. The question you should be asking is “What did I do or not do to cause this to happen?,” and more importantly, “What can I do differently next time?”
7. Giving up on people too easily
Sales jobs have notoriously high turnover, and some of that has to do with sales leaders choosing to replace sales staff with different people instead of working to improve the ones that are currently working for them. A great sales leader can take a mediocre person and make them perform well. Don’t always look for the easy way out.
8. Refusing to adapt
The world is changing faster than ever. New technology (like Spiro’s sales automation CRM) is revolutionizing industries, and employee’s and business expectations are changing too. The sales leaders who survive will be the ones who are willing to adapt to the times and reinvent themselves as needed. Sure, many of the fundamentals will remain the same, but you have to be willing to see what’s on the horizon.