In my opinion, if a company has four full-time salespeople, it's ready for a full-time sales manager. So, should that sales manager be running leads? No, not unless he's running them with a salesperson.

Here's how I justify that. Lets just say those salespeople average a million dollars in annual sales. With the help of a sales manager, each should be able to increase his/her output by 20%. That would add another $800,000 in sales. The sales manager should also be working to hire and train another salesperson or two, if that's the goal.

Not the Same Person The best sales managers are likely not the best salespeople. Did Tiger Woods coach? Did Butch Harmon ever play on the tour? New England won three Super Bowls in four years, and out of their 14 coaches, only one had any success as a player. This creates a situation whereby the player appreciates the abilities of the coach and vice versa. I didn't appreciate my salespeople the way I should have. I had a “can't you do better than that?” attitude because I measured their sales ability by my sales ability. A mistake.

Numbers Tell the Story Here are four things to remember when it comes to sales managers:

  • If you have a salesperson who sells better than your sales manager, some respect is lost for that manager.
  • If the manager goes on appointments, it's assumed he's getting the best ones, certainly not those in the late evening.
  • Any time spent running appointments is time not spent with the salespeople.
  • If you need a salesperson, hire a salesperson. If you need a manager, hire a manager. How many of you have your production manager doing carpentry work?
  • Finally, consider why you hired a sales manager. In most companies I've visited, the sales manager's job turns out to be an administrative, reporting position. If your sales manager is doing the job he should be doing, he's either out in the field with a salesperson or in the conference room, training. You should be seeing very little of him personally, but every salesperson's numbers should look better. —Phil Rea has conducted more than 13,200 in-home sales calls and trained more than 1,750 salespeople. He shares his sales strategies each month with salespeople across the country through his MasterMind Program. For more information, call 866.441.7445.