How to Manage Marketing and Sales People

There’s a reason “used car salesman” is such a notorious cliché. Sales can feel like a hustle, even when you believe in what you offer. But selling is vital, and if you’re not doing it, you’re not growing your business. It’s equally important to educate and motivate whomever you hire to sell for you. Rule #1: Recognize that they will be less motivated than you are, and will know less about your product or service.

Before you hire them

Know what you want from them. Have a written job description that focuses not just on activities, but on results. What is your needed balance between personal qualities and experience?

Know the difference between marketing and selling. Marketing is often a euphemism for selling, so make sure you don’t hire somebody as a “marketing associate” who can’t or won’t sell.

Think through the division of labor between them and you. Hire people who complement your skills. For example, they make initial contacts, screen, and set appointments, then you meet with the solid prospects.

Choose carefully. Have a trial period.

After you hire them

Train them. a) General skills that they lack. b) Specifics of your products and business and customers.

How can you help them? Ask them!

Set clear responsibilities, activities, schedule, targets, and results.

Discuss with them the learning curve and ramp up time, then hold them to this.

Give them the needed tools.

Have a tracking system for their time, activities, and results. Insist they enter all data continually. Make sure data is entered in a way so that others can understand it.

Review their progress and results regularly — at least each week in the beginning. Problem solve on how to improve results. Give them feedback, correction, retraining.

Motivate them with appropriate incentives, but watch out for incentivizing the wrong behavior.

You must manage and oversee, but not do their job

If you have more than one person, build teamwork. Make sure your sales people work well together.

Acknowledge, recognize, and reward good performance.

Top sales people earn good money, and that’s as it should be. Your attitude should be, “I want to pay you an obscene amount of money, because that means you will be bringing in lots of good customers and profitable sales.”

Keep your top performers happy.

Let go of poor performers.