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Small Compass Sound Sales: Sales Management Tips

By Mark McGlinchey - Written by Compass Group Solutions Founder Mark McGlinchey, this article first appeared in the Indianapolis Business Journal

Often sales managers are promoted from within. They spent their time on the battlefield, made a name for themselves as a successful salesperson and earned the right to take a step up the ladder into sales management. This progression has its benefits. It usually builds morale in the department or within the company by showing that hard work pays off. The company will also benefit by promoting an individual who is familiar with the organization.

However, there is a downside… It is possible for other members of the team to resent the individual who was promoted or to be jealous of his success. In addition, a sales manager who came from the rank and file may be friends with people he now has to manage.

Any time you are promoted from within and have to manage people that are your friends or people that you have a social relationship with outside of work, you need to establish firm, upfront ground rules. Sit down with the friend you are now managing and say the following, “Joe, I value our friendship and I certainly hope that my new position never jeopardizes that friendship. I want to give you a head’s up so we can avoid any bad situations. I’m going to have to be tougher on you than anyone else. I’m going to expect more from you than anyone else. If the rest of the management team or sales force ever thought that you were professionally benefiting from our friendship, it would be bad for both of us. So, I’m going to need to go overboard to prove to management and the sales force that you’re not being given preferential treatment.”

By establishing these ground rules, hopefully, you can keep “Joe” from trying to take advantage of you. When it comes time to ‘lay down the law’, it will be much easier to do.

Is this as good as it gets?

If you are displeased with the performance of one of your salespeople, or you’re on the verge of firing one of your salespeople, you need to have an “Is this as good as it gets” conversation or meeting with them. Use this exact verbiage. For example: “For the past several months, your numbers have been down and your attitude has been questionable. I need to know one thing. Is this as good as it going to get?”

Now, shut up and listen. They are either going to tell you, “No. I can and will do better.” Then, you establish expectations for the two of you. Or, they will tell you, “Yes. This is as good as it’s going to get.” Which now puts you in a perfect position to deal with the situation.

Rather than lecturing or criticizing your salespeople’s performance, get in the habit of asking them, ‘Is this as good as it’s going to get?” If the salesperson says the situation is as good as it’s going to get, you will then have to make a decision. Can you live with the salesperson and their current performance and/or attitude? Or, is it time to part company?

Fungus elimination.

There is nothing worse than a fungus in a sales force, because it grows and it spreads. The fungus reproduces and multiplies. When you manage salespeople, you must eliminate any and all fungus the minute you’re convinced it is a fungus. No, a fungus is not an issue… a fungus is a salesperson. I’m not just talking about your worst performer. The fungus could be your best performer.

A fungus is a salesperson who has a bad attitude, loves to complain, loves to point fingers and is a rebel without a cause. Worst of all, they try to recruit others to their cause. The fungus wants other people on the sales force to be as disgruntled as they are. If you don’t eliminate them, over time, they’ll tear you sales force apart.

In a sales force of ten people, nine people may have a good attitude and a good outlook, and one person is a fungus. The one fungus will spread and will begin to infect the other nine.

The only way you can live with a fungus is if they’re a good producer and they’re completely isolated from the rest of the sales force. However, even salespeople who work in remote offices or territories are rarely isolated from the rest of the sales force. Therefore, you must make fungus elimination part of your management strategy.


Keywords: Sales Managers, Sales Management, Corporate Evaluation, Sales Evaluation and Hiring, Management, Sound Sales, Sales Tips, Management Consulting, Compass Group Solutions, Mark McGlinchey

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