Top 10 Reasons Sales Managers Fail-And What To Do About It

The primary reasons that sales managers fail is that they don’t know
how to manage their people, and they don’t manage a highly effective
selling processes. Just as an engineering manager needs to be a pretty
competent engineer, so does a sales manager need to be a pretty
competent salesperson. However, in both cases, their primary
responsibility is to manage the performance of their staff. And, both
must have a good understanding of modern management principles beyond a
few readings of “The One Minute Manger.”

By contrast, most
engineering managers know that technology is evolving so quickly that
their managerial functions prevent them from keeping up with the
technology at the level of a functioning engineer. However, they know
enough about the latest technology to manage it.

Conversely, most sales managers believe that very little has changed
in the ways that top salespeople interact with their prospects and
customers since they became a manager. Therefore, they tend to manage
their people in the way they used to sell. However, the markets for
every product and service have changed dramatically in the last twenty
years. Top salespeople have developed new sales process to take
advantage of those changes. That is what most sales managers don’t know.

They don’t know how to use highly effective tools to recruit, recognize
and train salespeople that will perform well in their organization.
Therefore, they often hire salespeople that are not compatible with
their company’s culture and don’t have the appropriate sales aptitudes
for their industry.

There are a few excellent service agencies
that will recruit salespeople to match your requirements – at a
reasonable price. Furthermore, they will benchmark you and your best
salesperson to be sure that the candidates’ aptitudes are similar to
your best, and that they are compatible with your management style.

They don’t have a uniform, highly-effective sales process for their
company’s products and services. They believe that the fundamentals of
selling have changed very little since they were selling. Therefore,
they typically advocate obsolete sales strategies and tactics, and
focus on the wrong metrics. Their efforts at determining the “best
selling practices” for their company are almost always flawed.

for a sales process that is very different from the one that you are
now using. Talk to sales training companies to determine whether they
really are different, and whether they use their own proprietary sales
process when dealing with you.

3. They don’t know how to train, supervise, track and coach their salespeople to optimize their sales effectiveness.

is also a sales process problem. If you don’t have a uniform process
you have not way of knowing exactly what your salespeople are doing, or
whether they are actually doing what they say they are.

They lack skills in target marketing and prospecting. Therefore, their
salespeople waste most of their time with prospects who will not buy.

of the most important activities of top salespeople is finding and
making appointments with highly qualified prospects. Even if most of
the prospecting activity is done by your marketing department, or an
outside vendor, the salesperson should be the one that decides if and
when to visit a prospect.

5. They believe that “you can’t
close if you don’t get in front of prospects.” Therefore, their
salespeople go on as many appointments as possible, and they track that
metric. In order to fulfill that requirement salespeople spend far more
time with prospects who will not buy than with those that will.

demographic, situational and attitude standards for the type of
prospects that are most likely to buy. Make you most important metric a
function of booked business.

6. They believe that
salespeople should be able to convince prospects to buy when the
prospects are merely “interested.” Therefore, they have their
salespeople out trying to persuade prospects to buy who are merely
“interested.” It doesn’t seem to occur to them that hardly any of their
salespeople can convince their sales manager to do anything he/she does
not already want to do..

Sales managers need to utilize a highly
effective sales process that works now. They must learn why mutual
trust and respect and mutual commitments are far more effective than
persuasion, convincing, closing techniques and overcoming objections.

They don’t know the difference between qualification and
disqualification. Therefore, their salespeople create sales resistance
by selling to prospects when they are not ready to buy. That lengthens
the sales cycle and decreases their closing rates.

Most sales
managers don’t realize that visiting with prospects before they are
ready to make buying decisions will increase selling cycles and is
detrimental to closing rates. What they call “sales persistence”
usually loses business.

8. They don’t understand how the
human mind works and how it accepts or rejects information. Therefore,
their salespeople typically spew features and benefits in terms of
industry jargon. However, they don’t communicate what they are selling
in terms that their prospects can understand, will retain and will
motivate them.

There have been many studies about how to
communicate most effectively. Those studies have been done by myriad
educators, communications specialists, speech writers, psychologists,
broadcasters, sales consultants, etc. We used much of that research,
and our own studies, to develop the High Probability Prospecting Offer
Design Template. You can have a copy by sending an email request to with the words “Offer Design Template” in the
subject line.

9. They believe that most prospects make
logical buying decisions. Therefore, their salespeople don’t satisfy
prospects’ emotional motivations for selecting a vendor. However, if
that were true, almost every salesperson would be highly successful by
enrolling in logic courses.

Recent studies in Brain Science have
revealed that most important decisions are made in the part of the
brain that deals with emotions. Those emotions that deal with important
buying decisions are among Maslow’s Hierarchy. Until High Probability
Selling, no one figured out how to utilize that knowledge for major
increases in closing rates.

10. They don’t know how to get
salespeople past their fears. Therefore, most of their salespeople stay
in their comfort zones and under-perform. That causes most of them to
perform below their potential, or to fail. Pushing them to perform and
trying to thicken their skins seldom works well. The cost of this
problem is enormous.

Almost all salespeople, whether beginners or
veterans, can learn how get past their fears and avoid slumps and/or
burnout. It just takes a specialize set of psychological principles.
Getting your sales forces to operate at optimum effectiveness is an
entirely reachable goal.

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