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4 Sales Management Mistakes to Avoid

October 28, 2021
| Posted by
Jeff
Seeley

Something Spooky Is Stunting Your Leadership Development

Happy Halloween weekend! The holiday of mischief, evil spirits, scary movies, eerie decorations, chilly days, and frightening costumes is here. Do you know what’s spookier than that last horror movie you watched or looking back on your costumes over the years? The fact that even sales leaders aren’t perfect. Gasp.

It’s easy for people to think that sales managers are all-knowing, that we have magical powers and can see the future, or that we have everything together and never make mistakes. However, this simply isn’t true. Sometimes there are “vampires” on our sales teams who suck the energy right out of us and negatively impact our decision-making. In other instances, we can be “zombies,” allowing small mistakes to become entrenched in our leadership styles over time because we are simply going through the motions.

Regardless of the reason, here are four spooky sales mistakes we must avoid.

1. Not Having a Consistent Sales Process

According to research conducted by Vantage Point Performance and the Sales Management Association, B2B companies that identified a formal sales process experienced 18% more revenue growth compared to companies that didn’t. Yet, there are many businesses that have not committed to a specific sales process and many managers who allow their sales professionals to shoot from the hip.

  • Tip: Be a more effective leader by choosing and teaching a consistent process that makes sense for your team, and then coach your team members to follow it.

2. Not Spending Enough Time Coaching

This is a big one. According to Altify, “73% of sales managers spend less than 5% of their time coaching. Which is mind-boggling, as there is no more important skill or activity for a sales manager than coaching your people.” It’s no secret that coaching is integral to a sales rep’s success, and high-performing companies see it as a critical skill for leaders to have.

  • Tip: Coach your team before and after their calls, and observe phone conversations when appropriate—but don’t take over. This will help you incorporate your chosen sales process more consistently, as discussed in point #1 above. Additionally, make coaching part of the flow of your meetings and interactions with team members. Every time you speak with your salespeople, even if it’s not during a dedicated weekly or monthly coaching session, you have the opportunity to coach them.

3. Ineffective Hiring

A candidate puts their best foot forward in an interview, showcasing all their drive and determination and trying to come off as likable as possible. A common mistake sales managers make is hiring based on personality or a gut feeling. A lazy sales manager might also hire the candidate that reminds them the most of themselves, hoping they won’t have to do much managing to see results. There are significant costs associated with neglecting to implement and follow a recruiting method or hiring process. These include the actual costs associated with hiring and opportunity costs associated with lost deals if you didn’t properly assess the candidate and they turn out to be a poor performer.

  • Tip: Utilize a robust process with sales-specific talent assessments and behavioral interviews.

4. Treating Everyone the Same

Sales managers can mistakenly believe each person on their team is motivated by the same thing. Even worse are the managers who don’t care what drives their team at all and believe everyone should be self-motivated to get the job done. Don’t make the mistake of not understanding your people. We have written about this same sentiment before: you must understand your team in order to lead them.

  • Tip: Get to know each of your sales reps intimately. What inspires them? Who is motivated by private praise? Who is encouraged by public recognition? By money? Once you understand your team members, you can find ways to integrate, appreciate, and motivate each individual to perform their best and improve continuously.

Summary

These spooky sales management mistakes can be detrimental to sales teams and an organization’s bottom line. Be aware of these mishaps and stop them before they kill your team’s growth and your own leadership development. Or ignore these common sales management mistakes, and peril.

Happy Halloween!