Weekly Thought – July 14, 2020
Fred presented an in-depth study of management’s responsibility to the sales force to an annual management conference of GENESCO. They reprinted it “due to the importance of the thoughts presented.” This excerpt is part two of four.
As our Christian educators and students return to campus after months of staying away, please pray for them. The adjustments will create disequilibrium for some, but challenges for all. May the Spirit of God lead and direct them.
Management’s Responsibility to the Sales Force
My talk today will be a change of pace. Instead of a pep talk on what the sales force should be doing, I want us to think about the responsibility of management to the sales people.
Think about ways to keep the boat steady enough to let the sales force keep on fishing for orders. This can be done by promoting them to concentrate on selling, not administration. Most took the job wanting to sell. Their responsibility is to move product; ours is to help by keeping our focus on the main thing.
1. Management needs to consciously guard against accumulated red tape that uses much time and energy. Are too many memos required? Are too many reports expected? Only management can really protect selling time from the erosion of organizational detail.
2. Give challenging opportunities. It flatters the top-flight sales person to know professional sales skills are required to be successful.
3. Provide a competitive product which fills a need/desire at a reasonable price. Our selling proposition should be geared to the professional, but not “can sell ice to Eskimo” types.
4. Establish an excellent customer service department -asking sales people to use up time and spirit settling complaints is wasteful. If service is faulty, the salesperson looks like a liar, or at least creates embarrassment.
5. Maintain corporate good will and reputation – having a good name makes it easier for the salesperson to get appointments.
6. Provide effective presentation materials – written pieces, samples, and sales tracks all make it easier for the sales person to sell the company products.
7. Design a territory with sufficient potential – asking a sales person to grow crops in scorched earth is unrealistic.
8. Develop a training program – product knowledge and sales approaches give confidence; understanding of personal styles eases sales interviews.
Management has a responsibility to give sales people the tools which can reasonably be expected to suffice to do the job for which the sales person is hired. And I underscore – recognize and respect the primary function – selling, not administration. Smooth the path and let them hit the road.
This week think about: 1) As a manager, how often do I forget the number one job for my sales force is selling? 2) As a sales person, how can I keep my time and energy focused on selling? 3) What is my biggest challenge in my job?
Words of Wisdom: “Management’s job is to keep the boat steady so the sales force can keep on fishing for orders.”
Wisdom from the Word: “You must not muzzle your ox when it is treading grain.” (Deuteronomy 25:4 NET Bible)
Note: This was one of Fred’s favorite responses to Mary Alice, his wife of 67 years, when she “encouraged” him to clean up his home office.