by Tina Cherpes, Featured Contributor
Ask TheSalesShrink – #14
Q. I’VE BEEN A sales manager for about 6 months and I know I shouldn’t do this but when I divide the amount of money I’m making now, by the number of hours I’m putting in, I’m actually making less per hour as a manager than I did as a rep. I’ll admit I have a tendency to do some of the work my reps should be doing but quite frankly, it takes a lot less time for me to just handle the issues myself. On one hand I want them to focus on doing the things that bring in new business and on the other hand, when I was a sales rep I used to do most of what they’re asking me to do by myself. Any ideas or insights you can share would be very much appreciated.
We’ll explore a few ideas for you to consider and we’ll begin by defining a term called a paradigm shift.
The word paradigm is generally used to describe a pattern of behaviors or actions that form a framework for a way of doing something. As a sales person, this framework or paradigm consists primarily of customer or buyer-focused activities contained within the 4-phase universal sales cycle and include prospecting, needs analysis, product positioning, and closing. This framework is further defined by the organizations we serve through key performance indicators and goals. And while we (as sales reps) often get to exercise a great deal of autonomy and control within the framework, a vast majority of our efforts are focused externally on our buyers; both existing and prospective.
As we transition from sales to sales management, this framework or paradigm must shift in an effort to support the weight of our expanded new role. To be successful here, will require that we augment our familiar sales skills with the perhaps not so familiar leadership skills. We’ll need to learn how to focus a vast majority of our efforts internally, without losing sight of the overall business objective; building mutually beneficial and profitable client relationships through sales reps.
It is in this spirit of relationship building that the following five (5) insights are offered…
- Understand and embrace the paradigm shift; what worked well for you as a sales rep may not be enough to lead others.
- Find reasons to catch your team doing things right and create big, visible, and genuine recognition moments out of them; learn to reinforce the behaviors that are important to the team’s and organization’s success.
- As a sales rep, it’s likely you consistently were able to uncover your buyers’ needs by asking great questions; continue that practice with your team – the results will most likely amaze you.
- Whatever your process, motivate your team to stick to it; there is immense power in a system that can be duplicated.
- Relinquishing control is not easy yet doing another’s work because it’s quicker/easier seldom adds long-term value; reputations are often enhanced when we learn to delegate and hold our teams accountable for performance.