Leading printing executives into the futureThe Role of the Sales LeaderBy Jerry ScherPublished: April 8, 2013If your company is like so many that I’ve come in contact with, you most likely can identify the leaderswithin your organization that provide the focus, the planning and the execution of the operationalcomponents of your business. Whether we are talking about finance, manufacturing, administration,creative services and/or client services, you can usually assess the performance of the managers of thesedepartments based on pre-determined criteria. You certainly know when they are not performing to yourexpectations. But how are you doing with the revenue component of your business; the management ofyour sales department?“Not all great sales professionals make great sales managers; just like not all great athletes make greatcoaches"Quite frequently we hear about a top-performing salesperson that has been promoted or hired to run asales department based on their past success with sales generation. If you identify with this approach;how has that worked out for you? Now, I believe that a great sales leader should have real, in thetrenches, sales experience because they need to know what it’s like to identify and create salesopportunities and win business. They also have to know what it’s like to cope with the rejection thatcomes with being in sales. So selecting a sales manager with a successful sales background is perfectlylogical but not all great sales professionals make great sales managers; just like not all great athletes makegreat coaches.As with all other aspects of your business, your sales program requires a well thought out structuredsystem that incorporates the following components: (for more information about these componentsplease read the WTT article from November 27, 2012 – Managing Your Team of BusinessDevelopers) Strategy Development and Planning Sales Process Management Resource Deployment Coaching and Leadership Sales Compensation Design and Implementation Recruiting, Hiring, Training and Coaching Technology ManagementAnd the manager of this department is responsible for creating and implementing each of thesecomponents. In fact, I believe that your sales manager must provide Structure, Support andAccountability to your sales program and sales team. If you agree on these requirements I think you willalso agree that your typical sales person or even your superstars are most likely not eligible (experience,etc.) or suitable (behavioral competence, soft skills) to fill this position. Now if you have a great sales
management system in place and you need someone to manage your system, you can introduce a lessexperienced sales manager (behaviorally suitable for this position but lacking experience) to take charge.However, if there is no system in place, you will require someone that can design and implement aneffective sales management system in addition to coaching your sales staff. This becomes a real recruitingchallenge, and for the record, sales managers that carry a large book of business will typically spend theirquality time managing their business (and growing it) and not building your overall sales program.So how do we select a great sales manager? Well, we begin by carefully defining the job requirements sothat as we search for the best candidate we know exactly what we are looking for. We must determine inadvance what type of an individual will fit, behaviorally, within your company’s culture and what softskills they require. We have to seriously consider how they should be different from your top sellers. Ifyou do not have successful experience with this process then you should consider the research andknowledge that has been developed over the years and apply it to your search and decision makingprocess.There are numerous traits, competencies and work preferences to look for that are in common with a topperforming sales professional/business developer including: Takes Initiative Wants Challenge Interpersonal Competencies Creative Persistence Self-acceptance and Self-improvement Assertive and Helpful Warmth and EmpathyAnd while many of the traits are similar, the degree of importance and priority will be different.Additionally, based on validated research and experience, there are numerous traits, competencies andwork preferences that are either essential or desirable to look for in candidates for this critical position.They include: Systematic Wants to Lead Finance/Business Public Speaking Influencing Pressure Tolerance Effective Enforcing Handles Conflict Numerical Open-ReflectiveFurthermore, there are numerous Traits to Avoid for sales manager candidates including: Authoritarian Harsh Insensitive Impulsive Permissive Dominating
SkepticalWhen you take all of this into consideration it’s quite obvious that a lot of thought must go into creatingyour job description and requirements for this position. You must also consider how you will be able todetermine and predict which candidates will not only meet your eligibility requirements but also yoursuitability expectations. While effective interviewing will enable you to uncover some of these traits,leveraging new assessment technology to predict suitability is a more sophisticated approach.As you continue your journey towards re-inventing your business it will become obvious that your talentrequirements will change. And if you are attempting to rebuild your sales organization please give carefulconsideration to your sales management system as well as the leadership necessary to implement yourprogramIf you would like more information about designing your sales management system and learning moreabout assessing and hiring sales management talent, contact Jerry Scher at firstname.lastname@example.org or404-931-9291.To learn about the Harrison Assessment Technology, visit: http://www.peakfocuscoach.com/harrison-technology/Stay tuned to this continual series – as we continue to focus how to build a dynamic sales team.Jerry Scher has been engaged in the graphic communication industry for over 35 years, Jerrys primarygoal - make those around him more successful.