Sales Managers Don’t Produce Revenue (Sales People Do!)

Unless you are a sales manager with your own territory (which is an untenable position), you don’t produce revenue.  Yes, you are measured on revenue and results, but you are not responsible for producing revenue, your people are!

That's an important point that too many in sales management don’t understand. Our people are responsible/accountable for producing revenue. It’s their jobs to find the deals, qualify them, and manage them to closure. It’s their jobs to develop and execute winning sales strategies. It’s their jobs to make their numbers.

Some of you may be ripping your hair out, shrieking, “Dave, I have to make my numbers, I lose my job if I don’t! Tell me something that’s helpful!”

We have to make our numbers, but the only way we do that is through assuring each of our people is making their numbers. We can’t do it ourselves, the math goes against us.

Think about it for a moment. Undoubtedly, as a top sales performer, you made your numbers. It probably took you full time (or, in reality more than full time), just to make your own numbers. You didn’t have time to spare. Now as manager, you are responsible for numbers that are 5, 10, 15 times more than those you faced as an individual contributor. Already, even with the help of your team, if you went out to try to drive those deals, you don’t have enough time in the day to make the numbers–it’s impossible to do it yourself!  (Managers who think of themselves as “super closers” take note!)

Achieving Sales Team Goals

The only way to make your numbers is through maximizing the performance of each person on your team. Without each person making their numbers, you won’t make yours!

The job of the sales manager is to maximize the performance of each person on their team!

Easily said, but how do you do it?

  • You don’t do it by sitting behind your desk analyzing reports. The data may give you clues to performance challenges, but they don’t correct them.
  • You don’t do it by sitting in endless internal meetings talking about performance problems, new strategies, and the endless number of things that consume lots of management time.
  • You don’t do it by calling your people on the carpet, demanding they do better.

Instead, you do it by rolling up your sleeves and working with your people. You assess their strengths and weaknesses–not generally but specifically:

  • How are they at prospecting?
  • What about qualification skills?
  • How about their ability to develop and execute winning deal strategies?
  • How about their effectiveness in executing high impact calls?
  • What about their ability to understand and help their customers solve their problems, producing business results?
  • How effectively to they manage and use their time?  How effectively are they using the resources in the organization?

The list goes on.

Prioritize the Fixes

You know you can’t fix everything at once, so you have to prioritize, “What one or two things are going to have the biggest impact on the sales person’s performance?” You focus on those, then move to the next two then to the next. It’s constantly working with each person, helping them achieve their own goals.

There are some things you can do to help the team. You provides systems, tools, processes, programs, and training to help them become more efficient, perhaps even more effective.

You also remove the roadblocks and barriers to their success, making sure they get the support and resources they need to achieve their goals.

But it still comes back to each individual, do you have the right people? Are they doing the right things at the right time with the right people? Are they performing at levels that enable them to reach their goals–to produce the revenue expected?

Coaching underlies all of this. How do we work with each person developing their ability to perform at the level expected?  How do we help them learn and develop, so they continuously improve to meet the ever changing challenges their customers face?

Our jobs are not to produce revenue. Our jobs are to make sure each of our people are performing at the highest levels possible, so they can produce revenue.

Are you doing your job, helping them do their jobs?

Afterword:  Your roadmap to doing the toughest but most important job in sales is the Sales Manager Survival Guide.  Join thousands of others who are learning how to be a top performing sales manager.

David Brock is president of Partners in EXCELLENCE, a management consulting firm focused on sales productivity, channel development, strategic alliances and more. Read more of his blogs here.