Sales Managers Success Requirements Are Tough.

Sales Managers Success Requirements Are Tough.

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at

Stop managing, start leading. Sales managers beware. No one wants a manager, but everyone wants a leader. If you think about it, there are great world leaders, but no great world managers.

There is one universal misconception among every bad sales manager they all think they’re doing a great job! There are thousands of sales managers (and bosses) who do a great job and unfortunately, at least an equal amount who don’t.

Many sales managers have risen through the ranks by superior sales performance and are made managers without any (or minimal) training. Most of these “managers” will fail their company twice. Once because they are unprepared for the job, and once because they have left their former position of superstar salesperson creating a sales volume void.

There are seven areas of expertise a manager must possess to perform successfully. How many does your sales manager perform to perfection?

  1. Administrating Setting policy, dealing with reports, making sure the flow of paper (from orders in to commissions out) is error free, and coordinating the selling, delivering and servicing process.
  2. Recruiting Going out to find (and solicit) people who may be qualified to sell for the company.
  3. Hiring Determining by questions, responses and gut feeling, who is a great candidate for, and most likely to succeed at a sales position. When a person is selected, an integral part of the hiring process is to fully explain all expectations of the job. To set and agree upon sales goals (a nicer word for quotas). And to get and give commitments of specific performance. The best way to do this is to draft a commitment document that has listed what the company will do and what the sales person will do. Be specific as to sales goals to be met. Have both parties sign the document. It should be reviewed in every performance evaluation.
  4. Training If you want to win, win, win, you better train, train, train. Sales managers should lead weekly training meetings, do on the job training with the staff, attend every seminar possible, listen to sales and management tapes in the car every day, and read six books a year on management, sales and attitude.
  5. Motivating If you want success, you must create an atmosphere in which success can occur. This means a continuous (every minute) positive attitude and atmosphere must exist. It means recognizing and rewarding great performance. Managers create this atmosphere. What kind of atmosphere, recognition and attitude comes from your manager? If the atmosphere is lacking, or if a manager is using his or her ounce of power to show “who is boss,” I guarantee three things will happen.
    1. There will be a high turnover of salespeople.
    2. The manager will blame everyone else but themselves.
    3. The manager will eventually get the deserved “axe” after doing thousands of dollars in damage.

Interestingly it’s not the manager’s fault. It’s the fault the company president for not providing adequate training, or not selecting the right person for the job or both.

  1. Selling Managers (and trainers) who don’t sell every day lose touch with reality. How can you lead your sales force if you don’t know what the customer needs? There should be a regular pattern of selling both with reps and alone in a leadership position. The rule is simple If you aren’t selling, you can’t lead.
  2. Leading by example This applies to all aspects of the six areas above. Don’t tell someone to do something. Show someone how to do something and provide the support and training to get it done. As a manager you want your sales team to succeed. The best way to do this is to lead the way. Remember, it’s not up to them to succeed, it’s up to you to provide the atmosphere, encouragement, tools and training so that success can occur.

Tom Hopkins gives a great seminar on sales management. When he was asked to join a management team after an incredibly successful stint as a salesperson, he said yes on one condition. He wanted six months of intensive, handson management training before he accepted the position. That is how he succeeded.

How many months (weeks, days, OK hours) of management and leadership training has your manager had? The unfortunate answer for most is: not enough.

Stop managing, start leading. If you think about it, there are great world leaders, but no great world managers.


Sales Manager Success Rules. Don’t manage… lead! Just go to, register and enter the word SALES MANAGER in the GitBit box.