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Jun 15, 2008 1:02 am

General vent and invitation to share experiences:

What exactly do sales “managers” do at your firm? At every place I’ve worked and every place I’ve interviewed in which the bozo sales manager was involved in the process, I’ve come to the conclusion that firms find it to be a good idea to allow a flame out broker who’s never actually sold anything himself to pontificate endlessly to others about sales techniques and waste time scheduling a never ending series of meetings, conference calls, role playing events and reviews of sales reports and contact management reviews. I understand at some firms the SM provides practical services such as serving as an internal wholesaler for proprietary products or performing operations duties in small branches. I’ve even heard of one who provides the in house prerequisite classes for CFP certification or technology demonstrations. I’ve just never experienced this myself. Is this just my experience or does your sales manager provide any useful value to your practice?

Jun 15, 2008 1:55 am

Can’t help but laugh with your description… cause it’s true at my firm as well!

My sales manager is primarily my contact person for my career development.  He is the person to report my activity numbers to and bounce ideas off of.  He reminds us of the resources available at the firm to help us achieve our goals.

He seems to be more of a “cheerleader” of the reps under him than a role model to emulate.  But, if he could produce, he would be a rep, not a manager.

Jun 15, 2008 2:34 am

Mine is an idiot.  He has never given one useful idea and if you ask him about an idea you have been toying with he immediately tells you not to do it.  I do thoroughly enjoy his meetings.  He reads everything he hands out, which allows time for me to do some thinking because I can always read his crap later.

Jun 15, 2008 10:28 am

I estimate I loose about 5 hours a week to mine in one way or another. This doesn’t sound “huge” but is over 12% of a work week assuming 40 hours. This wouldn’t be horrible if I got some value out of it or at least practical information as opposed to philosophical rants about techniques he would KNOW are BS if he had ever sold anything. I could make 100 calls in that time, hold a couple meetings, put together a mailer, or any number of other things that would be much more useful.

Jun 15, 2008 10:30 am

By the way, I just have to laugh at the number of pikers in the office who seem to participate with such enthusiasm in the meetings and calls, throwing out ideas that if reflected in their numbers should definitely not be taken seriously.

Jun 15, 2008 7:52 pm

i’m pretty lucky considering the stories I hear from most folks.  My sales manager is a producing manager, and a top-notch one at that.  He’s usually #1 or #2 year over year in production in the office, and one of the top 50 in the company.  For the life of me, I don’t know why he bothers with the management side, but I appreciate that I can get him for joint work, bounce ideas off him, and have him go to bat for me when admin issues foul up production.

Jun 16, 2008 2:15 am

I’m curious to know, from those who are not happy with their Sales Managers, ABOMs etc, what they would LIKE to get from them.

Are most of your Sales Managers producing or non producing? If producing, what is your sense of the % of time they devote to their books, vs management? What are they doing that you appreciate, and what are they not doing that you think would be helpful.
Jun 16, 2008 2:51 am

First, we must differentiate between sales managers and mentors, because they are NOT one and the same.

From my sales manager, I expect them to hold me accountable for numbers - sales, dials, appointments, revenue, etc.  This is also the person to talk to about my mentoring relationships and any issues with the home office or the local office.

My formal meetings with my sales manager should only last about 30 minutes per week. 

Basically, help be a resource to help me solve my problems with my sales numbers and with home office issues.  My job is to prospect for new clients.  Let me do that, then help me with everything else while I learn the ropes on my own.

From my mentor, I expect help and guidance to help me accomplish my numbers in a more efficient way than if I were to try to figure it out on my own.

I’m a “type-A” personality.  Basically, let me come to you for help, or get out of my way.  Be supportive, but not overbearing.

Just my quick thoughts.

Jun 16, 2008 7:36 am

I have a similar attitude skippy. I wouldn’t mind not having a sales manager at all. I’d at least just like to have the time to devote to other things. An advocate to push things through when company gridlock gets in the way would be “nice” but really I just want to be left alone. I guess the time doesn’t hurt “that much” but I do resent being told anything at all by someone who knows nothing about what they’re talking about.