CEO Guide to Sales Management

Sales Managers sit in the middle. They’re the shock absorber in the system. Taking the heat from the C suite on everything the sales guys do. Taking the heat from the sales guys about ineffective marketing, unrealistic pricing, poor customer service or late delivery. In every business, the rubber meets the road with the sales team, and the sales manager navigates a way through everybody’s failings to keep the wheels turning. Without good sales management, turnover of sales people is high, revenue disappoints and low margins show up in the bottom line. And the one who ends up paying for that is most often the CEO, with his or her job.

I’m indebted to @stevenreeves (and his alterego @frontofficebox) for introducing me to the phrase C suite.

As I get older I note with amusement just how many job titles start with “Director”, “Head of”, “Chiefxx” many of them several levels down from where the buck stops…

2 thoughts on “CEO Guide to Sales Management

  1. In a widgets organisation, I think that may be true – but I’m not convinced the rubber hits the road with the sales team in a solutions or services organisation – that’s where delivery and consultancy people do the brainwork and get the traction (dare I say "customer mindshare"). In my various experience in these organisations the sales teams often create chaos and loss by, well, trying to sell widgets.

  2. I’m a huge advocate of consultancy-led sales; having said that the issue with the sales teams "selling widgets" is often the way incentives/payplan are set.I’ve encountered situations where an account team is bonused on margin, and a sales team is targeted on revenue. An obvious driver for the sales team to sell a 0% margin deal on the grounds "it’s strategic".I’ve lost count of the times I’ve heard "The competition is cheaper". Last time (and, to be truthful the 20 times before that) I said, "If you need to sell on price, you’re selling a commodity. If we’re selling on price, then I could do it."

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