A company's sales manager is often the key to setting, communicating, and attaining a company's revenue goals. He or she can be poised for greater success by avoiding these five common mistakes.

By Gretchen Gordon


For most companies, the sales manager is the key to setting, communicating, and attaining a company's revenue goals. Oftentimes this high pressure job comes with little training, leaving sales managers to their own devices to succeed. Here are five common avoidable mistakes:

Not Spending Enough Time Coaching Their Salespeople
One of the most common mistakes sales managers make is not coaching their team to succeed. Truly effective sales managers need to spend at least 30 percent of their time coaching their salespeople.Coaching can take a variety of forms, including pre-briefing and debriefing calls, going on calls to listen and helping salespeople incorporate a repeatable sales process to produce consistent results.

Hiring Based on Personality
Another common mistake sales managers make is hiring a salesperson because they remind them of themselves, not because they are the best fit for the job. It's crucial for companies to hire the right individual before they invest time and money into them. To do this, the best sales managers need to recognize they cannot rely solely on their gut instinct, but instead should utilize a robust process including sales-specific assessments.

Paying Attention Only to the Revenue
All too frequently sales managers spend their time focusing on the outcome (closed sales) rather than what their salespeople are doing to get to the end result. Observing and monitoring behaviors and activities will produce more consistent and better sales results.

Misunderstanding What Motivates Their Team
Because sales managers were likely salespeople at one time, they often believe their team is motivated by what motivated them. The truth is that people are motivated by different things.Some are motivated by recognition, some by money and others are motivated by status.An effective manager will understand what motivates each team member and will tap into that to get optimal results.

Lack of Consistent Sales Process
Many times when a sales manager steps in to lead a team they don't establish a consistent sales process and leave their team to their own tactics. However, the impact of having salespeople follow a consistent process is thought to increase sales by 15 percent. Sales managers must implement a repeatable sales process to help their team know exactly what to do at every step. The best sales managers will create a process that makes sense for their team and coach them to follow the process every time.

In short, if sales managers avoid these common mistakes they will set themselves up for greater success and will be able to drive sales results more consistently through their team.

Gretchen Gordon is founder and president ofBraveheartSales Performance, which works to improve the sales effectiveness of middle market companies by transforming underperforming sales teams. Contact Gretchen at ggordon@braveheartsales.com or 614-641-0600.