5 Secrets to Managing Your Sales Manager Productively

Many people believe that the main reason for representatives leaving their organisation is that of money in that they leave for a bigger salary. In fact, the biggest reason why people leave organisations is that the role they are doing is no longer offering any challenge or excitement. The second reason is due to the behaviour and capability of the immediate line manager. More often than not, the two are strongly linked with the manager taking little interest in the representative's development and as such the representative feels under valued and bored due to the lack of attention and challenge.

Often the blame is laid at the manager's door, but the representative must take a share of the responsibility also. The trouble usually arises when expectations are not laid out "on the table" with both parties unaware of each other's needs, motivations and expectations. The end result is often a lack of trust and respect between the representative and manager which leads inevitably to conflict. A good manager will ensure that a "contract" is created between the manager and the representative and that this contract is "two-way" but unfortunately this rarely happens and if any contract is put in place it is 2one-way2 with the manager outlining what he or she expects from the representative and not the other way around.

So how can you avoid this conflict and start to work productively with your manager? Act on these five secrets and watch the relationship with your manager grow.

Secret 1: Learn about behavioural styles and find out what your own is and your manager's. Compare the two and if there are differences then work on these differences by matching your manager's body language very discreetly. Match their tone and volume of voice, remembering not to mimic only discreetly match. Look at their eye movements and do similar. Again, do similar with body movements. When you start to discreetly match their body language you will be amazed that they start to match yours also. This is the start of the rapport building process and this goes a long way to start the building of trust.

Secret 2: Contract with your manager by getting agreement about how best the two of you are going to work together. Ask questions such as:

"What are your specific expectations of me as your representative?"

"What are my specific objectives and how am I going to be measured?"

"What behaviours annoy you?"

"What motivates and de-motivates you?"

"What reports do you want? When do you want them? What content?"

"How often do you want to visit me in the field?"

Contracting is all about managing expectations. A good manager will always outline his or her expectations and will ask you about yours. Once you both are clear about what each other's expectations are, then this is another building block in the foundations of trust and respect.

One of the hardest lessons I learned was when I did not contract with a senior sales manager. We had completely opposite behavioural styles, which meant that we didn't get off to the best start. He thought I was too energetic, flighty and too much of a risk taker and I though he was too detailed with no personality and constantly stuck in front of spreadsheets. We were in constant conflict because he asked me for reports that I could see no reason for and I was frustrated when he ignored my pleas for more training budget. If we had contracted and discussed our similarities and differences and how best to work with them, we may not have had the conflict that we did have. The result of this "personality clash" was that there was little trust and respect between us and very little communication. Meetings between the two of us were, to say the least, fraught!

Secret 3: Ask for regular feedback on your progress. Ask your manager to coach you. Be pro-active and do not wait for your manager to come to you. On the other hand do not always be seen to be reliant on your manager and give them space. Agree this area of support in your contract. A great time to enlist this support is on field visits. Ask your manager if some time can be "protected" during the field visit to discuss your progress and for them to coach you through any ideas and, or, challenges you have.

Secret 4: Be seen to be a support for your manager. Management can be lonely and stressful particularly if the manager isn't managing their boss particularly well or if the company and/or team results are not doing as well as expected. Be supportive and offer to take on extra tasks. These tasks will not only make space for the manager to work more productively and strategically they will also enable you to develop your own capabilities. Be careful to ensure you manage your team-mates expectations here too. Being seen as supporting the manager can be taken the wrong way by some of your colleagues and on occasion, the less enlightened representatives can see this behaviour as threatening.

Secret 5: Go with your instincts! If you feel that the relationship with your manager is starting to go sour, then immediately call a meeting and openly discuss your feelings. To make this easier than it may sound, again build it into your contract right at the start. Something like, "If I feel our relationship is not what it should be, can I address it immediately as opposed to letting it linger?" Do not where possible discuss your feelings with all of your sales team. You will find some people very supportive and helpful but you may also find that some may go out of their way to reinforce the feelings you have thereby making it more difficult to address with the manager. Always best to tackle these feelings head on without referring to your team mates. If you have a coach, then they are often the best people to enable and support you to handle these situations.

Relationships between managers and representatives usually deteriorate because there was little trust in the first place and as a result openness is not usually achieved. Follow the five secrets and you will go a long way to ensuring a lasting and productive relationship with your manager.

Allan Mackintosh is a professional management coach who after 19 years in the pharmaceutical industry started his own management coaching consultancy, Professional Management Coaching. He is a successful speaker and has recently turned author, having had his first book, "The Successful Coaching Manager" published in August.

Allan can be contacted on 01292 318152, e-mail [email protected] or visit his website at http://www.pmcscotland.com

In The News:

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news

Advertising Specialty Institute

IMAGEN Brands Hires Liza Sachs to Sales Management Team
Advertising Specialty Institute
“We are delighted to welcome Liza to the IMAGEN Brands sales management team,” said Lisa LeMond, vice president of sales at IMAGEN Brands. “Her previous experience on both the supplier and distributor side provides a powerful perspective that will ...


Facility Executive Magazine

WeSuite 5.0 Sales Management Software
Facility Executive Magazine
WeSuite, a sales management software solution, is purpose built for technology product and service providers. Designed for sales teams of two to two thousand, it streamlines workflow; simplifies the creation of estimates, proposals, and contracts ...


Ancillary Insurance Carrier Renaissance Expands Sales Management Team
PRNewswire (press release)
15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Ancillary insurance carrier Renaissance Life & Health Insurance Company of America is expanding its sales management team with the addition of group insurance industry veteran John Feeney. With more than 30 years of sales ...

and more »

Saint Rose launches concentration in sales management
Hudson Valley 360
ALBANY – Recognizing the need for highly trained sales managers and sales representatives in the business world, The College of Saint Rose has become the only college or university in New York state to offer a program in sales. Beginning in January ...


Starbucks Management Talks Customer Service, Digital Marketing, and More
Motley Fool
The period was fueled by strong comparable store sales momentum, new store openings, and further growth in the company's loyalty program. To fully appreciate Starbucks' strong performance and management's plans to keep its business going strong, ...

and more »

halfwheel.com

Habanos SA Appoints New Control and Sales Management Director
halfwheel.com
Corporación Habanos, S.A., the Cuban cigar company, has appointed Alberto Dónar Cruz Rojas as the company's new control and sales management director, following resolution 127/2018 of the Minister of Agriculture. Null. According to a statement issued ...


Fairfield Current

$207.25 Million in Sales Expected for Artisan Partners Asset Management Inc (APAM) This Quarter
Fairfield Current
Wall Street analysts predict that Artisan Partners Asset Management Inc (NYSE:APAM) will report $207.25 million in sales for the current fiscal quarter, Zacks reports. Two analysts have provided estimates for Artisan Partners Asset Management's ...

and more »

MassLive.com

People in Business: Colin M. D'Amour joins Big Y Grocery Sales Management Team
MassLive.com
Springfield - Big Y Foods, Inc. has announced the appointment of Colin M. D'Amour as a corporate center store sales manager, focusing on all non-perishable grocery products for the 70 store supermarket chain. As a corporate center store sales manager, ...


MarTech Series

Study: UK Field Sales Reps Spending Just 27% Of Their Time Actually Selling
MarTech Series
Roger Bradburn, Chief Operating Officer and Director, Institute of Sales Management (ISM) added, “Skynamo's report shines an important spotlight on the real day-to-day challenges experienced by UK salespeople and the lack of resources they have to ...


MarTech Today

LinkedIn Sales Navigator gets new engagement alerts, Custom Lists, more mobile search features
MarTech Today
LinkedIn announced new updates to its Sales Navigator platform on Wednesday. Since launching the “Deals” features in August, the sales management platform has introduced new engagement alert notifications, added a Custom List feature and extended ...

and more »
Google News

Keeping Your Sales Team Motivated

Sales managers frequently approach me for advice on how to... Read More

How Do I Manage Workplace Conflict?

Workplace ConflictConflict is an inevitable part of business life and... Read More

Is Your Forecast Too Sunny? How to Improve the Accuracy of Sales Forecasts

As spring moves to summer, the forecast should be for... Read More

Increasing Sales by Using Coupons - Will it Help Your Business?

Increasing Sales by using Coupons. Will it help your business?... Read More

How to Improve Your Management Procedures Usability

Are your people consistently following your procedures? Each year, organizations... Read More

6 Steps to Avoid Losing Summer Sales

It's a fact - the online world dies down in... Read More

The Surest Way to Boost Sales

If you have a small business and you are looking... Read More

When Its DUH? Time at Trade Show - 3 Little Words Save the Day

TIME, MONEY, HASSLE - You can make a sale on... Read More

How to Sell Strategically

If you want to maximize your sales performance, take a... Read More

To Increase Your Sales and Revenue Make Sure To Add Value

What are you and your company's services and products worth... Read More

How To Build A Worldwide Distributor Network

When your product is market ready and has a good... Read More

3 Steps To Getting A Sales Meeting

The best way to get a new customer is to... Read More

The Art and Science of Managing Expectations in Selling

It is very easy to fall into a trap with... Read More

How to Develop a Proactive, New-Business Sales Team!

I don't know about your business but in my experience... Read More

4 Marketing Myths Threaten Your Sales

These 4 marketing myths can cause you to lose sales... Read More

Increase Retail Sales With Meetups

I recently attended the monthly Italian language Meetup here in... Read More

The Spirit Of Change

A Highly Conscious Approach To Business Management. For more on... Read More

Seven Deadly Sales Mistakes That Cost Business Owners Big Money - And What To Do About Them

1. LOOKING for a "quick fix" to close more sales... Read More

The Boss from Hell: Quick to Criticize, Slow to Praise

So you have a boss who dumps all over you... Read More

Do You Know How to Fire Up Your Sales Staff (When Money Isnt Everything)?

Money is the only thing that motivates a salesperson, right?... Read More

Train a Winning Sales Team: Rounding Third and Heading for Home

Although I never met the man, I imagine Lou Boudreau... Read More

Sales Coaching... Fact or Fiction?

The old adage in selling has always been, "Find out... Read More

How to Write a Business Plan Sales Section for a Mobile Service

We all agree one of the most important parts of... Read More

Sacking Clients: Brand Power Wheel

Remember in the last message we talked about your directional... Read More

Do You Really Want Local County Contracts?

If you really want to secure government contacts at the... Read More