Holiday Homework 2019
Posted on July 6, 2019 by Ronald Swensson

Sales management is one of the most important and skillful professions in business today, and yet we still don’t get it always right. We spend years in sales, do it well, get promoted, and then realize that what we did to become great salespeople has nothing to do with being great sales managers. So, if you overcome these issues, learn new skills, and become good at this management thing, congratulations! And if you are not so lucky, you make a lot of bad decisions. Most if not all of these bad decisions, affect revenue directly. And because the sales function is responsible for generating revenue in a company, the effect of these bad decisions is readily apparent. It always costs you something to right a wrong: money, time, risk and/or reputation. In my dealings with sales managers, the question they usually ask when they think about the sales-management mistake pit is: 'What should I watch out for? Please don’t tell me what to do but what to avoid'. 

Mistakes in sales-management decision-making happen in three different areas: 
1. Strategic Decisions. Mostly decisions that take your senior management into consideration. Senior management may ask for your opinion about something that affects the entire company when making a (wrong) strategic decision. 
2. Tactical Decisions. These could be compensation-, quota-, territory- or customer(group)- related decisions that affect the entire team. Tactical decisions can also be about individuals in your sales team. They’re usually about coaching, motivating, hiring, and firing. 
3. Operational Decisions. These are the day-by-day decisions you make with your salespeople or sales team when selling your product or service. 
It may be clear that 1. inflicts greater damage than 2. And 2. inflicts greater damage than 3. in case of a wrong decision. 

It seems when a good decision is made, all is well in the world. The sales machine hums. Sales management is receiving much praise, and the next big thing (from a revenue and earnings standpoint) is just around the corner. But make one bad decision and the earth stops spinning on its axis. Very quickly, the sales team and the rest of the company feel the impact of this bad decision. Worst of all, people’s confidence in you (or in senior management) is shattered. Ouch!

With all the changes that are happening in the business world, we hear many sales managers crying out for help. Changes in technology, go-to-market changes, distribution-model changes, hiring, territory, competition, corrective action, online and product-mix changes. And all happening at the speed of light. Start your summer holiday with our ‘Holiday Homework’ (download here) and focus on what is really important for sales management and not just what is (always) urgent. It is enjoyable to think about things with a cocktail in your hand on a beautiful beach and it will avoid in the future wrong decisions. Yes, here you have your answer on what to avoid as a sales manager!

Have a great vacation and may each day of your vacation hold something special!