Earlier this year, Mark Mitchell, who co-authored our book RAINMAKER, and I conducted a study to learn what Building Materials Sales Forces are being challenged with this year. 146 organizations participated. For the next few blogs, I will provide insight on what we learned. I will share what you said were the top 5 challenges you face, with a brief commentary on each.
Challenge #4 – Developing High-Quality Sales Leaders
In our last few blogs, we covered the first three challenges. I will now cover the 4th biggest challenge: Developing High-Quality Sales Leaders.
This one is dear to me and our work with clients, as it is here where big impact can be made. I am not taking away from the first three, and frankly, the ratings were very close to each other. In our experience, Sales Leaders are where the rubber meets the road. It is here where there are significant opportunities for improvement by Building Materials companies.
Most sales managers were promoted into their positions because they were good salespeople. And while that does work sometimes, many become glorified salespeople with a title. Often the company has lost a good salesperson and for the first several years, has gained a middle-of-the-road sales manager. Sales Leadership is hard and we have found that most building materials companies have simply not invested the effort to define excellence in this important role. They hope and pray that the sales manager works out, but our observation is that it is a mish-mash of practices.
The Sales Manager of the future wears five hats: Leader, Business Manager, Coach, Recruiter, Trainer – and developing skills mastery here will create lift for your company. This is a lifetime rigorous journey that Senior Leadership must invest in. It does not happen overnight nor is it easy. But if you want to truly impact sales performance, this is where you must focus.
THINK ABOUT IT.