Important Sales Management
As challenging as it can be to get the right sales agents working for
you, keeping them can be a greater effort than you'd think. Managing an
aggressive sales force takes consideration of the corporate culture,
their overall goals, and how the people in it work together.
First and foremost, understand that getting any social structure (be it
a church group or business) to work is a matter of balancing reward
mechanisms. You will get the behaviors you reward, and it's worth it,
when looking at management structures, to ask what behaviors you intend
to reward and how they scale as you go up the management ladder.
For example, if you want your sales managers to grow the business, you
need to compensate them for what their subordinates do; you can't
compensate the sales agents in ways that aren't mirrored or extended to
the sales managers, otherwise there will be dissatisfaction across the
board, and you'll find yourself in a situation where the sales managers
are pushing salespeople into goals that aren't suitable, because they
make the manager's job easier or more secure.
Let's look at a hypothetical case. You have a manager running a sales
team; one of their top sales agents has gotten an order with a high
dollar amount, but a low margin. The company wants the order, because
it's got positive cash flow. Yet, if the manager is compensated by
margin percentages (a common compensation strategy for managerial
positions), there's a disconnect between what the manager wants, what
the sales person wants, and what the company wants.
If the sale is consummated, the manager gets a smaller check (due to his
compensation being matched to margin percentages). If the manager tells
the sales agent to go in and ask for a higher quote, they may lose the
sale (and puts the manager at odds with the company's goals). This also
jeopardizes the relationship the sales agent has with the client.
The answer to this is to go up the chain of command; under the right
circumstances, the sale can be consummated, and the manager compensated
fairly for the work done by the salesperson – but this takes some solid
guidelines and organizational structure in place to make happen…and it
should be prevented at the beginning by making sure that the goals and
compensation strategies are aligned properly, so that nobody "takes one
for the team" when a successful sale is completed.