By Philippe Le Baron
Vice President of Sales, CATIA WW
You are accountable for your sales people’s success and/or failure.
This is a true paradigm shift for many individuals and sales organizations because when people fight this principle, it has many consequences on the way the business is run, on how people interact with each other and how they start bringing confusion – that eventually hurts sales execution – by doing everybody’s job at every level of the sales organization and by adding at best little value to the deal and to the rep, and at worst by demotivating them and encouraging them to actually cheat the system and input “dirty data” into CRM – Let me show you one concrete example of what happens when you fight this principle and if you decide – like most sales organizations in their infancy do – that :
- Sales people are here to produce sales and hit sales goals
- Front Line Sales Managers are here to produce sales and hit their territory goals
- Area Sales Managers are here to produce sales and hit their Area goals, etc.
When you run your business like this, even though most people add a few “new” metrics when you go one level up, like margin for Area Sales managers, or customer satisfaction for a territory, they still measure more or less the exact same thing sales wise at every level of the organization: revenue, pipeline and all sort of data that is related to deals and to accounts.
Here is what happens next when you only look at that side of the data:
Sales people get inspected on their pipeline and on their deals
Front Line sales managers are inspected on their pipeline and on their deals (aggregated at the team level but we are still looking at the exact same data),
Area Sales Managers get inspected on their pipeline and on their deals (aggregated at the area level but we are still looking at the exact same data…)
VP Sales are inspected on their pipeline and on their deals (Aggregated at the GEO/Country/Region/Theatre level but we are still looking at the exact same data….)
This is what I call “beating up your reps to death from one level up to the next one” by asking the exact same questions about the exact same opportunities over and over again.
Worse, this focuses the sales management layer on the sales reps job since it always inspects the exact same process: their reps’ sales process…
Managing, or leading sales people, is not about managing your reps’sales process, that should be your reps’ job! For you as a sales manager there is a whole new dimension and a whole new process by itself that will eventually help you manage yourself and lead your team more efficiently on a daily basis.
The process of leading sales people is something that most sales managers and their own managers do not fully grasp yet. Without help from their VP sales guiding them to apply the same skills (their strengths at selling) to very different processes (sales managers processes) and to very different clients (their reps), Front line sales managers’ only hope is leading by example as their best coaching technique and you are left trying to get a mom teaching her kids the habits of brushing their teeth by showing them how well mom brushes her own teeth. (good luck with that …).
The right way of looking at this sales management process is by looking at sales – again- as a production system.
“I Train Lion Tamers for FUN”
Philippe is the Worldwide Sales Leader for CATIA the leading Brand of DASSAULT SYTEMES. Prior to joining 3DS, Philippe held various consulting, sales and sales management positions at FRAMATOME, DASSAULT ELECTRONIQUE, SOPRA, DIGITAL, COMPAQ and EMC2. His past experiences have helped him transform businesses across various business units, languages and cultural boundaries.
Philippe is the author of “1+1+1=4 !® : the Art & Science of getting 100% of your Reps @ GOAL.” He is the creator of the Lion Tamer Sales Manager® System. Philippe is a graduate of engineering from Ecole Centrale-France, and holds a Master of Science degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.