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Below you will find a series of sales articles. Select any of the topics to download, open, or print.

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Sales People Quit Sales Managers

Sales Managers, keep this in mind. People dont quit companies, they quit managers.

I had a conversation with a sales manager about his sales team. We discussed a particular instance where a new sales hire resigned just prior to her first full year. The resignation came as a surprise, given the sales rep had achieved her annual sales plan and was on the way to doubling her income from the previous year.

The fall out of the resignation included, but was not limited to, a gaping hole in a territory (lost revenue), an expensive turn-over cost, negative effect on team morale, and a management team wondering what went wrong.

Can you name the best sales manager you've ever worked for? Likely you can without thinking.

Can you name the worst sales manager you've ever worked for? Again, it's likely that didn't take you long either.

So, what's the underpinning motivation that separates the best sales (coaches) managers from the worst? One word, Purpose!

Sales managers whose true, deep-seated motivation (their purpose) is to coach/help their sales people to success are by far the most effective in getting the desired results. Unfortunately, too many sales managers are attached to their own success and egotistical satisfaction. When it's really all about the manager, salespeople are simply pawns in the sales manager's game. The objective of a sales manager is to help sales people hone their sales skills to achieve their goals. This is accomplished through a purpose mindset, coupled with the coaching skill sets and tools to be an effective sales manager.

Evolution of a Sales Manager

How do sales managers become sales managers?

Our research and experience concludes there are four ways.

  1. The employee does a good job and is promoted.
  2. The person is related to the boss.
  3. The person receives the promotion because of seniority.
  4. You hired someone else's bad hire.

If you asked any management expert if any of these reasons adequately prepares you to become a sales manager, their answer will be no.

What is it that we really ask managers to do?

Our research and experience identified the top five fundamental skills managers must possess to effectively build a profitable, productive and predictable sales team.

They are the ability to:

  1. Motivate
  2. Develop
  3. Coach/Mentor
  4. Communication (Leadership Skills)
  5. Recruit and Hire

All these skills have one thing in common… they are all learned skills. How much training is typically provided to managers in these skills? Usually not much!

To determine if your managers would benefit from our training, answer these questions:

  • Are your managers surviving or succeeding?
  • Are your managers coaching or driving?
  • Are your managers using people or developing people?
  • Are your managers concerned with things or are they concerned with people?

       “Salespeople don’t quit companies, they quit sales managers.”


If you’re not using an assessment tool to assist in hiring and retention of sales and sales management people, you should be. If you are, the question is, is it the right one? The right sales-specific assessment tool will indentify those who will perform in your market despite numerous challenges.

All sales people or sales candidates fall into one of four categories.

  1. Can Sell/Will Sell – Sales champions
  2. Can Sell/ Won’t Sell – Imposters
  3. Can’t Sell/Will Sell – Rudy
  4. Can’t Sell/ Won’t Sell – You know who

*1 and 3 are the people we are looking for.

Consider these critical factors when selecting your sales and sales management hiring assessment tool.

  • Was the assessment created, designed, built and enhanced specifically for sales?
  • Is the hiring assessment tool easy to understand and offer targeted training and coaching points for salespeople based on individual results?
  • Does your assessment tool examine and measure only in a sales context?
  • Does your assessment tool marry criteria to your specific criteria to identify hirable salespeople?
  • Does your assessment tool measure intangibles that cause some salespeople to experience success more quickly than other good, but late bloomers?
  • Will your assessment tool identify ideal hirable candidates?
  • Will your assessment tool identify perfect hirable candidates?

If you answered no to any of the above question or are not sure your assessment tool provides the answers to the above question call for an in depth sample report 440-413-9419 .

9 Steps to Developing a Sales Force that Sells

1. Evaluate Your Sales Force
Let me clarify what I mean by evaluate. You know the results you are getting from your people, but do you know why you are getting those results? You may know some of the “why” but do your people know? Salespeople are an interesting group to manage and develop. The best tend to be self motivated, independent and risk takers, which means they don’t take kindly to being told what and how to do things. It has been my experience that the most effective way of developing your salespeople is to help them achieve individual realization. Our evaluation process enables your salespeople to see for themselves the improvements they need to make. When you achieve individual realization, you are already halfway towards making the changes you need to improve the results you are getting.

2. Sales Process Documentation
Figure out the strategies and tactics you use to acquire a customer. Do you have your process documented? When you do this your salespeople know which activities to leverage and when. If you don’t, it is no wonder your salespeople appear to be focused on the wrong things at the wrong times. You will say to yourself, “if they could just manage their time better they would sell more” and you will send your people off to a “time management” seminar in hopes that it will cure them. In reality, it is not about time as much as it is about focus and direction.

3. Sales Management Skill Development  
Develop the people who are in responsible for developing your salespeople —the ones in charge of growing your revenue. Do this so they can effectively support your salespeople who are expected to execute the strategies. You will want to develop their skills on coaching, mentoring and holding salespeople accountable. These skills have one thing in common, they are all learned skills and these skill sets don’t come naturally to your managers. (see evolution of a manager)

4. Recruitment  
Typically, what we find from our Sales Force Audit is that 20% of the sales force is in the wrong seat. An improved sales selection process is needed to hire salespeople who can and will be more effective at executing the sales process.

5. Sales Skill Development  
Use this to develop those salespeople who can’t yet execute the strategies.

6. On-going Field Coaching
Your sales managers, who were trained ahead of your salespeople, should be able to effectively coach their salespeople to reinforce what they are learning in the training.

7. Compensation and Incentives  
Compensation drives behavior. The correct compensation plan targets the behaviors and activities that your salespeople need to complete in order to execute the sales process. (See step one.)

8. Systems and Processes  
The structure that makes this all work is your systems and processes. Your systems should support your efforts instead of your efforts supporting the systems. Your processes ensure quality and consistency. Both your systems and your processes need to support the mission of the sales force.

9. Accountability  
Most managers do this poorly because they don’t know what to hold their salespeople accountable to. Once identified and monitored, key accountabilities increase the salesperson’s odds of success.

The Weakest Link

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Who’s the weak link in your sales department?

If you’re being honest with yourself, you know who that is. Or even who they are!

So. If you know that, why are you still coddling your weak links? Why haven’t you made them available to the industry?

Firing someone is never easy. Letting someone go is a public admission that we made a mistake; that we failed. In either our hiring process or our on-boarding process. Maybe both. For many people, it’s just easier to cover up their mistakes than admit them.

Second, if our hiring process brought us our current weak links, there’s really no reason to believe our next hires will be any better. Other than by the luck of the draw. (And how many times have you bought a winning lottery ticket?) So, we justify not trying again using the ‘devil we know’ rationale – our next hire could be even worse!

So how do we prevent this cycle from happening again? By using an effective recruiting and on-boarding system or improving the one you have. If you continue to do the same things, you know what you’ll get.

The weakest links in the chain.

Death of a Sales Team

Did you hire the right candidate? Are you setting up your sales people to fail? Most do!

When my phone rings and it’s a sales person on the other end you can bet I take the time to talk with them. Those conversations reinforce how badly organizations need assistance in building a process that ensures they hire the right candidate and put them into a fast track development process that will generate immediate sales productivity. 

My last two calls came from sales people who are employed by billion dollar organizations. After 60 seconds into our conversation, I asked the sales person to share with me in 30 seconds or less how they help organizations. Between the “uhm’s” “ands” and pauses, neither one could give me a concise; compelling statement that gave me a glimmer of hope they weren’t wasting my time.

Okay. Forget about the sales person for a moment and the 30 second commercial. Let’s talk about where the rubber meets the road, who hired them and set them up to fail? Management! That’s right, the people who are in charge of executing the sales strategy (if they have one) and growing the business.

How do you expect to attract, hire and develop sales people without the right systems, processes and capable management people who are equipped with the tools to develop your sales force? The answer is you can’t. And you won’t until you decide to change your thinking, methods, and actions that are creating the problems. Change is needed to fix problems.

So what could you do that’s different? Here are a couple of things to get started.

Build a hiring process that indentifies sales team members who will perform in your market. 

  • Quit hiding; find out how much your sales turn-over, or lack thereof, is really costing you.
  • Identify what you believe a sales person must do to be successful in your business.
  • Write an effective recruiting ad (not an advertising billboard for your company) that improves the pool of quality respondents from which to choose. 
  • Place the ad in the right spots.
  • Automate the process to organize the responses until you are ready to speak to qualified, hirable candidates.
  • Select a sales-specific assessment tool that matches your companies DNA with the sales candidate’s strengths and weaknesses.

The quality of your hiring process or lack thereof will determine your success or failure in attracting and hiring the right candidates. Put together a strong recruiting process and watch your teams excel.

7 Reasons Salespeople Fail During their First 90 Days

     1. You hired the wrong person. You failed to use a process and system to determine if your new hire can and will sell in your market despite numerous challenges.  

     2. You failed to establish a center of confidence and solid foundational elements their first 30/60/90 day gates of employment to help them navigate your business and represent your company professionally.   

     3. The importance of the job and its relationship to the company’s strategic plan was never made clear to them. ( Maybe you don’t have an effective strategic plan.) 

     4. You failed to identify your new hires strengths and weaknesses, more importantly their hidden weaknesses that sabotage their sales strengths. Remember one size does not fit all when developing your sales people. 

     5. Your sales managers haven’t developed their skill sets to hire, coach, develop, mentor and hold their sales people accountable. (see evolution of a manager) Remember sales people don’t quit companies they quit managers. 

     6. The company’s overall approach to developing a sales team that drives profitable, productive and predictable sales results is disjointed and lacks a holistic approach needed to build and develop the people who are capable of executing the sales strategy. 

     7. Presidents and owners lack the commitment to make changes, make tough decisions, and do something different to get the results they dream of. (See the 5 fears successful owners share.