Nice title, huh? This article, although the title may suggest otherwise, is presented in a positive tone. There are actually more than 10 common practices that Sales Managers use that do more to frustrate their teams. Avoiding these practices takes planning and a strategic approach to sales management which is often lacking. Across the board organizations spend way more teaching their salespeople process and strategy than they do for their sales managers. Sales managers are really left to figure it out on their own. So, after polling many salespeople and using my own experience as a salesperson and a sales manager (not that I ever did any of these things!), I thought I would share a list of 10 Ways for Sales Managers to Ruin their Reputations and Lose their Team’s Respect.
1. Hold boring, unproductive or negative sales team meetings. I own Meeting to Win - clearly I’m passionate about this one. It’s a reputation killer!
2. Keep introducting the ”flavors of the month”. A Sales Manager gets an idea from a book, a colleague or divine inspiration. They march in Monday morning with “we are going to start….”. It usually comes with a new report, a task force or, at the very least, additional meetings. It dies in a week with no acknowledgment. It just quits coming up and salespeople learn to stop taking this stuff seriously.
3. Don’t protect selling time. Sales Managers who blindly ablige senior management emergency reports and other fire drills without ever putting up resistance in the protection of selling time are not helping their salespeople succeed. Salespeople begin to see them as the enemy working against their progress.
4. Hire bad team members. The team knows it and it affects the team’s performance and culture immediately.
5. Don’t address disruptive or underperforming reps in a timely manner. The team is watching how the managers address or put up with these things. Managers who address these things early and positively create a culture of performance. The opposite does, well, the opposite.
6. Don’t stand up for the team members. Sales Managers are a bit like parents. Discipline in private, praise in public. Salespeople need an ally, it should be their Sales Manager.
7. Take the credit for the team’s successes. Sales Managers who have successful teams do get the credit, they don’t need to give it to themselves.
8. Pass the blame for the team’s failures. This is an ugly one. Again, Sales Managers are getting the blame even if they try to pass it elsewhere. They just need to own it and fix it.
9. Forget what it’s like to be on the front lines. Sales Managers too often lose the feel for the field. They get too busy to get in the field, too. Sales Managers need to spend 3 days a week in the field with their reps and not lose the feel.
10. Mess up on a customer meeting. Sales Managers should enhance a customer meeting, not ruin hard work. Enough said.
BONUS: A rep just shared this great one with me! Schedule one-on-ones or meetings and then continually cancel and postpone them. The team members are planning around and preparing for these and emailing them to postpone the meeting for an hour or even 10 minutes is disrespectful and rude.
If you are guilty of any of these, now is the time to address it. Your reputation depends on it.