We see it time after time: the small business owner assumes the Sales Manager role, often as one of many hats worn in the organization. At face level, it seems to make sense. In a smaller organization with a small sales team, adding a management-level oversight position puts a dent in the operating budget while the company struggles to meet revenue goals. So, why shouldn’t the business owner simply step into the Sales Manager role until the company’s financial position can support a full-time Sales Manager? Frankly, the reasons are plentiful. But don’t just take our word for it – let’s also consider the perspective of another sales industry voice as we dissect why taking on your company’s Sales Manager role could cost you big time:
Sales Industry Thought Leadership
Before we tackle the issue of why taking on the Sales Manager role is a mistake for most business owners, I want to expand our view a bit. At Sales Xceleration, we take sales industry thought leadership – and sales executive-level service to clients – very seriously. That means we constantly scan print and online media for other voices, other opinions, other points of view. While we are gratified to be the nation’s leading provider of fractional, outsourced sales management and leadership, that doesn’t mean we think we have all the answers all the time. So, we listen. And we continue to learn. And we bring our ever-expanding knowledge to bear for our clients.
Why do I mention this? Why does this matter?
Other voices not only can bring valuable perspective; they also can validate key messages that drive our business. Recently, one of our Advisors came across just such a voice that underscored the danger for business owners choosing to take on the Sales Manager role. The Advisor shared it with us and I want to share it with you, along with our insights on some of the key points.
The blog post was entitled, Small Business Owner: How Much Does It Cost You to Be Your Own Sales Manager? Written by Clifford Jones, founder and managing partner of Conversion Marketing Experts, the post struck a chord with us. And while we don’t know Mr. Jones or his company – nor can we vouch for their approach to marketing – we found ourselves nodding in agreement with many of the points in the post. (We’ll provide a link later in this article.)
First, Jones emphasizes what typically happens when “otherwise amazingly bright and talented business owners” play the Sales Manager role: “Mayhem. Chaos.”
Why does this happen?
We believe, as Jones also asserts, that the root causes are wearing too many hats, not knowing “what you don’t know”, and not asking essential questions – the kinds of questions (and answers) that dedicated Sales Managers know by intuition and experience.
For example, a successful dedicated professional Sales Manager already knows:
- How to write an effective salesperson job description
- How to conduct an interview to get past the basics and find a true sales professional
- How to structure a motivating and revenue-optimizing sales compensation program
- How to set up, manage, and leverage an effective CRM system
- How to motivate and coach sales team members
- How to analyze and strengthen the sales pipeline
- How to know when (and how) to fire a poor-performing salesperson
The business owner plays many roles and wears many hats. Maybe it comes with the territory. But when one of those hats is the Sales Manager role, the stakes are high indeed. After all, the company’s revenue – and therefore, its future – are at stake. Consider this: Wouldn’t it seem odd for the business owner to act as the head of Information Technology, Accounting, or Operations without direct and significant experience? Why, then, do so many business owners attempt to manage their sales teams without equally direct and significant experience?
The Bottom Line:
We share the conclusion of Mr. Jones’ article: It is nearly always dangerous and costly for the small business owner to take on the Sales Manager role. And even though we come to that conclusion, independently, from different perspectives, Mr. Jones validates what we’ve learned from decades serving small- to medium-sized businesses.
To learn more about how Sales Xceleration’s proven systems can reduce risk while increasing sales performance and revenue, click here to find your nearest Sales Xceleration Advisor, or call us at 844.874.7253.
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