I recently came across a job post by a small business on one of the forums that said ‘looking for dynamic and motivated Sales Manager, accountable for sales strategy, establishing and driving sales forecasts and managing the sales team’
Further the role required the individual to have a thorough understanding of sales and marketing processes, procedures, and methodologies, including relationship, transactional and solution based selling. Plus all standard key words ‘presentation skills, team player, quotas’ etc. in the responsibilities and requirements. So far so good.
This to me, brings to fore the fact about how woefully short most small businesses are in their understanding how crucial a Sales Manager is to the mix of business development and sales. It is pretty much under control up to the time the entrepreneur is also the manager and drives his small sales team of maybe one or two people. Sure, he or she may not have the data and metrics all laid out scientifically or in a visually appealing manner but make no mistake – in his or her mind it’s all as clear as day – what’s coming in, when and how to make it happen.The risk taking ambitious personality of the small business owner can grow the business tremendously but it can also suffer from an over dependence on the owner just because he is unable to let go of certain decisions and responsibilities as the business grows. All because of the belief that “no one does it as well as me”
The Sales Management Function
This is where Sales Management becomes such a crucial function that needs to be delegated to the right person with the right skills and knowledge who can not only create the sales process, people and systems framework but also maintain the momentum and sustain consistent growth. Sales Management leadership is responsible for various critical performance drivers, the metrics and oversee the KPIs. This is the hard stuff.
This is not what you’re typical best salesman promoted to Sales Manager can do. In fact it can be detrimental to the business in most cases. Sales Management is not sales baby sitting. It is about
- Individual sales performance improvement by putting in place a system of best practices that the sales people can succeed in.
- The soft stuff which is the coaching, the driving behavior, the mindset, the skill set.
- Getting the sales team to be accountable and committed to their promises.
Sales Management is a skills position. There are things that a 3x or 4x paid Sales Manager can do from a talent perspective that a ‘x’ paid sales manager just cannot do. To put it in perspective, in cricketing parlance, the comparison would be between a Virat Kohli or a Sachin Tendulkar and any other player of lesser skill. You NEED to get the right person for the right job !
Are you a CEO or business owner managing a 2-10 people sales team among 25 other jobs that you are responsible for? Do you ever feel that they aren’t getting enough attention and thus aren’t getting the results that you want?
Solution for Small Business
However, therein lies the rub. Most small businesses cannot afford a superstar sales manager. So they do what they think is the next best thing – hire someone UNDER-SKILLED or as I referenced before ask their best salesperson to keep selling and also fill the sales manager role.Here’s the best alternative to avoid all of the above – Part Time Sales Management. A new concept probably to India, but it’s a fairly well accepted practice in foreign shores.It is no different from the Outsourced HR or Payroll functions that small businesses have successfully adopted. I’m not advocating completely Outsourced Sales Management – small businesses do not want business generation completely out of their purview.Part Time (or Fractional) Sales Management focuses on the existing sales team and fixing the process, creating and implementing best practices, leveraging technology, mentoring and coaching (as opposed to training) to RADICALLY improve sales. All this at a fraction of the costs associated with hiring a full time superstar sales manager.Regardless of industry, if your company’s sales performance is poor or average you can BENEFIT.