New Data - Are Experienced Sales Managers Better Sales Managers?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Jun 25, 2018 @ 06:06 AM

best-worst-sm-image

Last week I wrote a revealing article which showed that Sales Managers are even worse than I thought when it comes to coaching their salespeople.  That article stimulated this great conversation on LinkedIn

Following that article I dug further into the same 9,000 rows of data to look at the role that tenure and experience have on sales management effectiveness. Who do you think are more effective - newer or more experienced sales managers?

I looked at four of the twenty-one sales management competencies:

  • Coaching
  • Motivating
  • Accountability
  • Pipeline Management

My goal was to see if there was any correlation between their tenure and/or experience and their sales management effectiveness.  Please review the table below where the average scores in 4 sales management core competencies can be seen for various levels of experience, along with averages for the those 4 competencies and a weighted average.

best-worst-sales-managers

It's clear from the average scores that experienced sales managers are only marginally better than inexperienced sales managers in 3 of the 4 competencies, faring worse only in Motivating.  However, those scores change dramatically when we look beyond sales management experience.  

If we look at sales managers who also have been with the same company and in the same industry for at least 25 years, you'll see that the scores are 20% worse than for sales managers with similar sales management experience who were with different companies and in different industries during those 25 years.  Those with 253 experience grew up in those companies/industries, were risk averse, and by not leaving/moving, were not exposed to new/better practices.  As a result, they have simply repeated what they were taught by their ineffective sales managers from 2-3 decades ago.

Compare that with new sales managers who are also new to their companies and new to their industries. Despite having at least 20 fewer years of experience and little in the way of legacy knowledge as a foundation, they average 13% higher scores than those with so much more experience.  In fact, column 2 shows that all newer sales managers, regardless of company tenure or industry experience, fare better than all veteran sales managers in column 3.

Finally, average scores can be deceiving and as we all know, coaching is the most important of the competencies.  In the last row, we used a weighted coaching score worth double the coaching points and the overall scores still showed that veteran sales managers who experienced multiple companies and industries were stronger overall than any other group.

What happens if we look at the same data using Sales Management Quotient to differentiate?

best-worst-sm-smq

Interestingly, the largest concentration of elite sales managers is in the same group - those with 25+ years of sales management experience who did not stay with the same company or industry.  Those who grew up in just 1 company clearly have the smallest representation in the elite category with just 1%.  The reverse is true as well.  The experienced sales managers who moved around have the smallest percentage of weak sales managers while those who stayed with one company have more than double the percentage of weak sales managers.

When it comes to sales management capabilities, the amount of experience can be a negative if the kind of experience that makes a difference.

As a whole, these findings also serve to validate a reason that companies look to experts OUTSIDE of their own industry for help.  Sales experts with experience in multiple industries bring far more innovation, best practices and practicality to their consulting, training and coaching.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Sales Coaching, sales management effectiveness, sales management function

Top 5 Keys to Effective Sales Coaching and Results

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, May 02, 2012 @ 09:05 AM

sales coaching effectivenessOne confusing component of effective sales management is that great sales management skills don't always translate into great sales results.  This phenomenon is most obvious when a company hires a terrific, new sales manager, who possesses all the desired skills, and the manager fails to have an immediate impact.  Worse, in many cases, is when the inherited salespeople rebel!  This scenario also occurs when sales managers go to seminars, watch video clips, read books or blogs, and attempt to extract specific skills and tips but don't have the luxury of hearing them demonstrated, in context, in a real situation.  When Objective Management Group conducts a sales force evaluation, we often see that sales managers' skills are much better than the resulting effectiveness of those skills.  Why is that?

Sales coaching is not a solo endeavor.  It's a lot like playing doubles in tennis.  You can take tennis lessons and improve, but unless your tennis partner has been taking lessons and practicing along with you, your personal development won't translate into more victories, as opponents quickly realize that they can simply force the ball to your weaker partner.

Let's assume that you have plus sales coaching skills.  You know how long you should coach, how frequently you should coach, what subject to coach on, how to expertly debrief, role-play and identify the specific cause of an outcome, and get to lessons learned and action steps.  You can effectively strategize an upcoming sales call and you can coach right in the middle of a live sales call without ever taking over the call.  You're a master.

Now let's take that mastery to your sales force and consider these five factors:

  1. The strength of your relationship with each salesperson; 
  2. If they trust your intentions and if you trust them to follow through;
  3. If they respect you and your experience or you lack credibility with them;
  4. If your salespeople are open, coachable or resistant to your efforts to help; and
  5. If you pressure them, micro-manage them, or often ignore them.

Your collection of sales coaching skills is only one factor.  Consider the matrix below where one's effectiveness and overall impact is in direct proportion to the five factors listed above.  The score indicates how effective a sales manager will be, depending on their level sales coaching proficiency and the conditions of their sales environment:

Sales Coaching
Skills
(0-5 scale)
5 Strong
Factors
4 Strong
Factors
3 Strong
Factors
2 Strong 
Factors
1 Strong 
Factors 
0 Strong 
Factors 
 5  100%  80%  60%  40%  20%  0%
 4  80%  64%  48%  32%  16%  0%
 3  60%  48%  36%  24%  12%  0%
 2  40%  32%  24%  16%  8%  0%
 1  20% 16%  12%  8%  4%  0%
 0   0%  0%  0%  0%  0%  0%
Table 1.0 Overall Effectiveness

We will be showing managers how to shape their sales environment at next week's Sales Leadership Intensive in Boston.  This is the last week to register!  We'll also demonstrate how to master the art of coaching salespeople.  Hope to see you there.  Email me if you would like to attend.

 

 

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales training, sales management training, sales leadership effectiveness, sales management effectiveness, seminar, workshop, program

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016 and this one for 2017. Read more about Dave.

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