Approaches to leading and managing sales departments and teams need to evolve more quickly. Research shows less then 45% of Sales Managers put resources against their own professional development and when you narrow it down to developing leadership and management skills the number falls below 10%. What's interesting are the top two reasons Sales Managers do nothing:
- 1. No budget
- 2. Too busy
Hmm-don't think those excuses would fly if one of their sales reps used them as reasons for not improving.
New information, new science, and new technology bring new approaches, efficiencies and solutions to our sales teams. It is ridiculous to think there aren't better ways to maximize productivity. What if physicians had the same attitude...would they still be using scalpels on human eyes instead of lasers?
What our profession can do:
- Begin by pooling our resources. Sales management needs to be viewed as a profession that, regardless of market, can learn from each other. Healthcare can certainly learn from agriculture, consumer goods can learn from industrial supplies, and so on. We need to share the science and best practices across all markets.
- Place greater emphasis on professional development. Focus on improving skills only in the areas proven to drive productivity.
- Start now! Get to a seminar, join a study group of other sales managers/execs, do something each week that makes you a better sales leader and manager. Science has proven the productivity of sales teams are a reflection of the leadership skills and management acumen of those in sales management.
What sales execs and managers need to believe is the professional development "evolution" begins with them. Without growing their skills to better lead and manage, they are by default, limiting the growth of their teams.