Death of a sales manager!

From transactional sales manager to sales leader.

Businessman Holding Graph - death of a sales managerWe are delighted to share a guest post today from experts Rosemary Bannister and Nina Lovatt, directors of HT Training and Coaching.

They specialise in coaching and training sales managers in the tourism and hospitality industry, and are in demand with some of the most prestigious hotel chains, running training all over the world.

They are both Insights Discovery practitioners – Nina is an accredited coach and Rosemary is a Leading & Developing High Performance practitioner.

They tell a wonderful story here of how Leading & Developing High Performance works with sales managers. So sit back and enjoy their with 4 top tips!

Once upon a time Ian was a sales manager of a large sales team. He felt confident that he was able to measure and manage the team’s performance through the volume of units sold and the number of customer visits they made. Ian’s team had sales targets, drove shiny company cars and had company expense accounts for entertaining.

Then one day the world changed and Ian’s customers began demanding a more collaborative and solutions-focused approach from his team. Because of this Ian’s people needed to develop new skills and competencies in order to meet the changing needs of their customers and to future-proof their organisation’s sales success.

Because of this Ian found himself in a sales manager’s conundrum.  If sales success could no longer be measured purely by revenue targets and customer activity, how was he going to lead his team in the future? Had the sales manager’s role changed that drastically?

Night after night Ian trawled the net looking for answers and then one evening he stumbled upon the Leading and Developing High Performance Programme for sales managers and leaders and he began his own leadership development journey.

Ian’s journey has proven to be full of highs and lows and while he has travelled far he still has a way to go before he reaches his final destination.  But in the meantime his sales team have never been as motivated or effective as they are right now and as for his customers, they are very happy too.  Ian’s team are right there at their side as partners, collaborators and trusted business advisors.

To support you in your own sales manager leadership journey here are Ian’s top 4 tips for effective sales leadership in 2014.

1.       Unconditional Positive Regard.

Accept that every member of your sales team is a unique individual and has the potential within themselves to excel in their role. Always have positive regard for the individual, especially when giving feedback. Respect the individual and focus on their behaviour and actions not their personality. Help them be the best they can be by coaching and supporting them to improve.

2.     Be Genuine.

Demonstrate your authenticity as a sales leader by creating an environment where each member of your team can really thrive and achieve role excellence. Yes, even for those team members who are least like you! Be consistent in all of your dealings with every team member and in every situation. Inconsistency and the perception of unfairness are major demotivators. The trait of consistency is exhibited by the best leaders.

3.     Motivate the team to motivate themselves.

Show your appreciation and support by recognising when a team member does something well. Sales people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers, and lack of feedback of any kind is a demotivator. Providing extrinsic rewards such as bonuses, incentives etc have been shown to have a very short term impact. Motivation comes from within so provide your people with plenty of involvement, feedback and thanks for a job well done.

4.     Expect high performance.

Harness the power of expectation theory and expect people to excel in their role. Set the bar high. Make it absolutely clear what your expectations of your team are. Create a vision for them to aim for.  What does being the best look, sound and feel like? Then train, coach and support them to get there. Expect the best and you are likely to get it. Expect mediocrity and that is what you’ll get!

If you enjoyed  this, watch out for the little quiz from Nina in our next post, aimed at understanding your leadership style as a sales manager.


Read HT Training’s recent white paper on the changing role of the hotel salesperson