It’s a simple fact of business: Without sales, no one else downstream can do their jobs. Because of how vital sales are to a company, CEOs frequently tend to misuse their best people. When they misallocate key players, their small to medium-sized businesses tend to go in one of two directions. They either stay small to medium, or they go out of business. When you ask why, it most often comes down to a violation of one or more of the three sins of sales management. Having the right people in important spots is absolutely the secret to success.
In business, there’s little to no forgiveness for these sins:
- Sin No. 1 … is committed when the CEO or owner wears the hat of the sales manager. If you are doing that, you’re essentially relegating both the CEO job and the sales manager job to part-time status. In effect, you’re saying, “I’m going to grow my business part time.” If you want your business to grow, you must grow your sales force, and you need someone doing that full time.
- Sin No. 2 … is to make the best salesperson the sales manager. It can work, but seldom does. The usual scenario, however, is you lose your best salesperson and get a mediocre sales manager. The role and the responsibilities are entirely different. A salesperson’s role is to win new customers and nurture the ones you have, thereby differentiating you from your competitors. The sales manager’s job involves recruiting, training, coaching, building and developing.
Being effective at one of those jobs is not an indicator that a person will be equally effective in the other. Salespeople are used to immediate gratification, involving a deal-to-deal routine. Sales managers, by contrast, must take their time to recruit, train and coach. A salesperson might easily become disenchanted with the pace of the new role and look for another sales job, perhaps with your competitor.
- Sin No. 3 … is probably the most grievous of all. The best salesperson is made a sales manager, but he or she is also required to continue booking business. It’s absolutely ruinous. The person’s focus will remain fixed on the customer, as that is how their compensation is driven. Accordingly, the sales team will be underserved, missing the opportunity for leveraged growth.
The key to growth is to put the right people in the right places.