Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Learn to Avoid Hiring a Bad Modular Factory Sales Manager

You’re a modular home factory owner ready to hire a new sales manager, and you want someone who will help take your company to the next level. You begin the search process, study resumes and conduct interviews, looking for that special candidate that will build and lead a sales force.

You hire what you think is a top sales gun. Two years later, home sales are stagnant, there is turnover on the sales team and the remaining members are average at best. You scratch your head, wondering where you went wrong.

In fairness, most people would agree that hiring, regardless of the position, is one of the more challenging parts of running a business. Hiring a sales manager for a modular home factory is even more difficult, because you’re interviewing people that are good at selling themselves and their ideas.

So for your next hire, here are tips on who NOT to hire for a sales manager. Look for clues during the interview process to see if your candidate falls into any of these categories.

The Attention Deficit Disorder sales managerThey have the attention span of a gnat and are addicted to their smartphone, iPad or anything that vibrates and rings. Technology is present at every meeting because this sales manager has the false belief that they are like doctors — always on call.

One-on-one coaching sessions with members of their team turn into a juggling acts. They take phone calls, check emails and do everything but the one thing they’re supposed to do: Coach and pay attention to the salesperson and help them identify areas of opportunity or improvement. The ADD sales manger can’t pay attention long enough to transfer knowledge and skills.

The Closer sales managerThis sales manager loves to save the day. Instead of teaching the team how to close business, they don their hero hat and ride in at the 11th hour to help the salesperson seal the deal. Everyone cheers, and then they ride off to assist the next salesperson.

The lesson the team learns team is, “You’re good, but you’re not good enough to get the deal across the finish line.” This behavior might be acceptable for awhile. Problems appear when the company begins to grow. The closer can’t get to every opportunity and the sales team doesn’t know how to close. Sales slide and the team is beat by a better-trained sales force, led by a manager who has dismounted and given up the hero hat.

The "Wing It" sales managerThese leaders think that processes are for engineers and accountants and don’t document anything. That type of work takes too long, so they start the training of every new hire from scratch. Ramp-up times are long, affecting cash flow and sales results.

They believe that well-designed scripts and talk tracks are too regimented but what they don’t realize is that every salesperson has a script. Listen to a salesperson and you’ll hear them start a phone call or a meeting the exact same way each time. They has a script. The problem is that the current script lacks good principles of sales and influence. The salesperson is doing the work and has little to show for it.

This manager avoids role plays and skill drills during sales meetings because planning such activities take preparation. As a result, their team ends up practicing in front of their prospects instead of their peers.

The Friend sales managerThey don’t have enough friends outside of work, so they try to find them in the office. They are more interested in the sales team liking them rather than respecting them.

They’re also uncomfortable setting expectations for success. This sales team usually lacks key performance metrics on sales activity or sales results.

When the sales manager tries to set performance standards, they buckles at the first sign of push back. The good news is that their teams really likes them. The bad news is that this undisciplined team produces sporadic sales results, doesn’t follow up well with existing clients and eventually gets beat by a sales team led by a manager that DOES have enough friends outside the office.

A great sales manager can help a business achieve sustainable and profitable growth. Hire sales managers with focus. Look for leaders that desire to transfer skills and instill discipline into a sales team. The right sales manager will allow you to focus on your role as the CEO and grow your company.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good points, and generally true for sales managers in any industry. Unfortunately it seems that the dominant attribute is that the candidate needs to 'be from the business'. This narrows down the hiring pool tremendously. The more interesting question is why so few experienced managers come to our industry?