Are you a baby boomer manager? Have you figured out that the way you were motivated simply doesn’t work with today’s sales professionals?
My own personal experience came from the hard working 50’s ethics. It included a direct approach from supervisors, unquestioning and blind following of authority and an unwavering loyalty to the company that supported you and your family.
In many cases people feared their boss who was perceived as all-powerful and an elite member of society. Management was sometimes administered with a heavy hand, orders were bellowed and the threat of losing your job was real.
Of course, most of that is passé but once in a while I’ll encounter a throw-back to those days. Managers who will take an individual to task for ‘low sales’ in an open meeting in front of peers or wander into the sales department and generally pronounce that sales suck.
It reminds me of the story of the sales team that referred to the weekly sales meeting as the WAK (weekly ass kicking). It became a joke amongst the sales team. “See you tomorrow; don’t be late for the WAK.”
What is the manager trying to accomplish with this kind of behaviour? Is it motivating or nurturing? Does it boost an individual’s confidence in the high-rejection world of sales? Does the salesperson feel they are in the place to grow their career?
Maybe, (and this is a long shot) if you’ve got a group of 45-year-old guys in the department this archaic and fear-based approach might work but I doubt it.
If your team is anywhere from the “X” generation on (30-year range) they will simply pack their bags. First mentally but eventually for real and once they’ve packed their bags mentally, they will be ineffective and unproductive and the company loses.
Salespeople need to be developed as ‘business people in sales.’ In sales we say the three most important words are “nurture, nurture, nurture.” It’s also true in the management of salespeople.
That doesn’t mean you don’t manage but it’s not what you do but how you do it. Holding sales people accountable for their behaviours is a sales manager’s primary function but that can be achieved in a nurturing, business like fashion. It’s the difference between managing and leading.
The old style manager may like to absolve themselves from the leadership role saying, “I’m not here to baby sit adults.” Unfortunately, that label (baby sitter) is wrong but many parts of a manager’s function include detailed accountability and is the key to the development of every successful selling team. The leader must lead, must inspect activity and must follow through on managing productive behaviour in a nurturing way.
My favourite definition of motivation is that it’s somewhere between a pat on the back and a kick in the butt. However, if you’re doing more butt kicking than back slapping one of two things is wrong. First, maybe it is the individual salesperson and for various reasons, the fit is wrong. You may be trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. If so, call it ugly early and help them find a new home that’s more compatible. Secondly, if there’s more butt kicking happening (and on several behinds) it may just be you.
People rarely quit a job. More often they quit the people at the job. What is the number one reason a good salesperson leaves a job? It’s not the money, the perks or the position. They feel unappreciated and ‘unloved.’
Six Ways To Be A More Effective Manager
Part of your responsibility as sales manager is to help your sales team increase their capacity to perform and improve the outcomes of their performance. To that end, you conduct regular sales meetings to hold them accountable, you provide coaching to keep them on track, and you provide training when needed.
What do you do to improve the outcomes of your performance when you’re conducting those sales meetings, providing the coaching, and delivering the training? In other words, what do you do to become a more effective sales manager? Most sales managers would answer, “Not much.”
In this report you will learn:
So, what can you do to improve your performance and be a better manager, mentor, and motivator?