Sales Managers

There are 5 types of sales managers:

1. Classic Motivator. Likes to have frequent sales “meetings” which are actually rah-rah pep rallies. Demands all reps have “positive attitudes.” He is the master of the obvious and never saw a platitude he didn’t like, and endlessly repeat. Demands an upbeat happy-happy joy-joy environment.

Has those silly posters with trite slogans like reach for the sky (with the obligatory photo of the eagle, and climbing the highest mountain starts with the first step. If you hate the sight of these posters you are not alone.

2. One-Of-The-Guys. He wants to be seen as one of the boys and as a “nice” guy. He delights in telling stories about what he did when he was a rep and how he is still a rep and not a manager – he doesn’t like managers either! He will never be an effective manager because he can’t discipline the team. If he did that they wouldn’t like him anymore. This is common with adults who have out-of-control kids. Note that I don’t call them parents because they don’t deserve the title.

This manager was a former top, or at least above quota, rep. He was promoted when the previous manager left and he was conveniently there and available. He also would do the work cheap compared to a real manager that would want what he was worth. This shortsightedness is a common mistake business owners make when they focus on the money going out which is visible, instead of the money not coming in which is invisible.

3. Spreadsheet Jockey. This guy is analytical and loves systems and process charts. Every minute of the day is measured and analyzed. He demands detailed reports or data entry into CRM systems. He delights in spewing out ratios for this or that and comparisons to past months. Forecasts are his true love. Spreadsheets were invented for this manager.

Anything that can’t be neatly quantified has no place in his reality. Psychologically engineered sales process and artful closing techniques are lost on him. Call volume however is not and in his view is all that matters. Make the calls and the sales will follow. Just enough truth to sound plausible while missing the big picture completely. Any business owner stupid enough to hire an MBA, lawyer, or engineer to be a sales manager should read this again carefully.

4. Tyrant. Was (in his own opinion at least) a hard-core closer as a rep. All that matters are results. People equal profit and if they don’t sell are sacked. He is abusive and uncaring. He will browbeat, intimidate, scream, coerce, threaten and in general pull no punches in his blind race for “success.” Loves clichés like no pain, no gain and weak Darwinian analogies with the animal kingdom and how only the strong survive.

Typically a driven obsessed workaholic with no life outside the job. His position gives his life, and very existence, meaning. Power is everything and without it he is nothing. Behaviors are indicative of compensating for the shallowness and unbalanced life.

5. Inspirational Leader. A true sales leader was of course a former top rep. You can’t teach what you don’t know and can’t empathize with others when you haven’t suffered like they have. This leader doesn’t “manage” he “leads.” There is a huge difference. A leader has the vision to see possibilities, He can articulate missions and rally the troops to causes. People want to be part of something bigger than themselves. They want meaning to their lives. They will follow those that can give them what they want, and help them be more than they were and thought they could be.

Our sales leader knows that both quantitative and qualitative paradigms are applicable to sales. The combination of call volume and technique works wonders. He has advanced knowledge and skills in applying psychology to the sale process and in leadership. He views himself as a team builder and that is his overall mission. like a general in wartime, who has risen through the ranks, he is not afraid to take losses but dreads each and every casualty. Ideally the war is won and everybody comes home.