Missing on the "Secrets to Developing Successful Sales Managers"

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Feb 21, 2013 @ 13:02 PM

An interesting article, Secrets to Developing Successful Sales Managers, by Xactly's CEO, Christopher Cabrera, was posted on Selling Power's 2/19/13 blog.  I suggest that you read it first, returning to this article for the analysis.

I thought that the first half of the article was spot on.

I thought that the second half was as bad as the first half was good.

Here's why:  He said to hire for characteristics and train for competencies.  That's okay, as long as we identify the correct characteristics and competencies, which he didn't.  And when we train for competencies, that should be fine-tuning, not wholesale development.  It's one thing if the sales manager doesn't have salespeople reporting to him/her yet, but if we expect the sales manager to inherit a group of veteran salespeople, that's not the ideal scenario for on-the-job training!

So, what are the correct competencies?  This article lists the top 10 sales management competencies.

Today, 50% of a sales manager's job (especially the front line manager to whom Chris refers) is coaching!!!  That doesn't appear on his list and it's the competency on which sales managers consistently score the lowest.  According to Objective Management Group's endless source of data, sales managers possess, on average, only 45% of the attributes of an effective sales coach.  And this will come as a surprise:  In which attributes are they most deficient?  Selling skills!  After all, how can we expect sales managers to coach salespeople to be any more effective than they are?

That brings us to the next problem.  Was that new sales manager really that effective as a salesperson or was this individual simply managing greater revenue than anyone else?  Were they existing accounts which were being managed or were new accounts being brought in?

Companies routinely mislabel salespeople as being top producers when the reality is that they're usually great account managers who've inherited the best accounts or territory.  It's often the less visible salespeople who are the best producers, bringing in new business, one deal at a time, but growing their revenue just the same.

 

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management coaching, Xactly, sales management competencies, objective management group, selling power

What Really Creates Sales Excellence?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Nov 13, 2008 @ 21:11 PM

If you are like me, you're receiving email invitations to attend webinars at the rate of 10 to 20 per day.  And you're getting the exact same invitations every single day from the exact same companies.  And some of them promise the solution to all of your sales problems - sales excellence solutions.  Take a look at the invitations I received today alone!

  • IDC - Sales Advisory Service (they provide research reports and hold seminars where they report on their research and provide sales enablement advice)
  • Savo Group (their tag line is "never sell alone" - they tap into your sales teams' knowledge and make it available on demand)
  • Xactly (they have online applications that optimize compensation and incentives)
  • Landslide (they have the best sales workstyle management application so that your salespeople follow your process and enter the appropriate sales cycle information to produce the reports you need to see)
  • Avitage (they provide central storage for and an application for taking the visual and audio nuggets and putting just the right message together so that your salespeople deliver the email/web message that you want them to)

I may not have their messaging the way they want it but it's my sense of what they do. But their webinar announcements all promise to improve sales effectiveness.  Can they?  Do they?  What do you think of when you hear that you can increase or improve sales effectiveness?

What they can't do is make your salespeople any more competent, although Savo and Avitage might disagree.  They can't make your salespeople any more motivated although Xactly might disagree.  And they can't make them any more effective, although Landslide might disagree.

All of these applications are systems which optimize and improve efficiencies, standardization, attention to details, access to information, and how to use the information you get. They don't train and develop your salespeople and the only way to make them better is through evaluation, training and development.  Evaluation identifies all of the people, systems and strategy issues that need to be addressed.  Training is the process by which skills are transferred while development is the process by which their strengths are developed and weaknesses overcome. If you train and develop your people and then utilize these services then yes, you'll improve sales excellence.  These application are far more effective when you've already worked with a sales force development expert, developed a sales process and developed your salespeople.  Then these applications can be aligned with true best practices, as opposed to the practices in place prior to development.

I can tell you first hand how good Landslide is - I use it and recommend it to all of my clients.

I can tell you first hand how insightful Lee Levitt, the  IDC Sales Advisory practice Director, is. I have met Lee and read his articles.

I met Jim Burns from Avitage and saw his demo but haven't used the application yet.

I spoke with someone from Savo Group and saw their demo but haven't used the application yet.

And I haven't met or spoken with anyone from Xactly yet.

What really creates sales excellence?  No one thing - ever. A combination of things - always.

(c) Copyright 2008 Dave Kurlan

Topics: sales competencies, sales assessment, sales process, sales training, selling, Salesforce, Sales Force, sales excellence, sales evaluation, sales compensation, sales system, Xactly, Avitage, Savo, IDC, sales effectiveness, Landslide

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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, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

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