Imperative 1: Know the Difference…


Being a “good sales manager” is the goal of most with the sales manager title.  Those who hold this view are selling themselves short and running the risk of failure and extinction.  Harsh words . . . , but I think you will agree after considering the following thoughts.

Many managers focus solely on data: pipeline numbers, quotas, numbers of calls, trends, comparisons, etc.  Sales meetings and sales reviews are replete with charts and data.  At the extreme, these professional imposters are nothing more than mathematicians and quants.  If this were the profile of an effective manager, vetting of potential hires would be done with a Mensa test.

These people are best defined as ADMINISTRATORS.  Data and quantitative assessment of specific information is very important.  It should, however, be used as a means of defining teaching and coaching opportunities . . . not as an all-inclusive means of managing sales professionals.

MANAGERS utilize statistics of specific sales activities, similar to an administrator, but often add management strategies.  They frequently have great ideas and can define some interesting tactics to use in selling.  They often can lead fairly effective sales meetings and develop good relationships with management and producers alike.  Often, they are well liked by all.  But there is something missing!

A true sales LEADER utilizes data similar to the administrator and the relationship and strategy techniques of the manager.  This person doesn’t say “go do this”; they say “follow me . . . I’ll help US BOTH get better and be more successful.”  This professional knows the questions to ask in a sales call and how to analyze your sales activities not only when they are present on the call but also when they ask questions about the calls each sales person just made.

They know firsthand what skills are required for success, how each person they lead stacks up against these standards, and how to elevate them to the next level.  They are the “PROS” everyone wants to work for . . . and ultimately be like.

Are you or the “managers” in your firm characterized as ADMINISTRATORS, MANAGERS or LEADERS?  If you or they are not operating in this rarefied air of professionalism, come back for the next blog where we will discuss the 3 specific selling skills that these leaders apply and teach to others.

See you next time.  In the meantime, send us your comments and questions (

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