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7 Myths of Managing a Sales Team
Nov 20, 2017 | Canadian Professional Sales Association lock

When you think if a lawyer, a banker, and a doctor, you probably picture a certain type of person for each. There are stereotypes about every profession, and sales people are certainly no exception (remember the used car salesman?) As a result, there are some widespread myths about managing a sales team. Find out the seven myths of managing a sales team.

1. Salespeople Need a Script

There’s a reason you hired a human being to close sales; so that they can interact with prospects and add that personal touch. If you needed someone to read a script, you could have hired a computer. Sales people need training and guidance on qualifying and closing a customer, but they should not be forced to adhere to a script.

2. Commissions Are All Sales Professionals Care About

Salespeople are usually incentivized with bonuses and commission, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t care about anything else. Rewarding and motivating your sales team with recognition, team outings, and career progression will all impact their performance positively too, and may actually encourage them reach their goals more than a boost in commission.

3. Salespeople Can’t Take Feedback

Somewhere along the line, sales people got the reputation for being egotistical. The truth is that there is no higher representation of egotism in sales than in any other field. Sales people are just like every other profession, which means that sales professionals can take feedback like anyone else.

4. Salespeople Mislead

This particularly unfortunate myth about sales people is often a result of miscommunication and poor management in other parts of the organization. It can seem like the sales team is promising features and functionality that the organization has no plans to deliver; but, in reality, the sales team is often the last to find out about the product roadmap, but the first to hear customer complaints. Instead of assuming that sales people are making empty promises, put a process in place to use the feedback the sales team hears and keep the sales team up to date on upcoming launches.

5. Sales Representatives Are a Dime a Dozen

It takes a certain personality to succeed in sales, and, depending on the product, it can take a wealth of knowledge and skill as well. Good sales reps have the potential to make or break your organization, so treating them like commodities that can easily be replaced is a recipe for disaster.

6. It Doesn’t Take Brains to Work in Sales

Some people think all it takes to succeed in sales is an outgoing personality, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Today’s sales reps do need to have good people skills, but they also need to have deep knowledge of technical or specialized products and services, they need to have great written and verbal communication skills, and often need to be able to create complex ROI or analytics models. Salespeople need a robust set of skills and knowledge to succeed today.

7. Sales People Can’t Be Managed

These myths about sales people culminate into one overarching idea – that sales people can’t be managed. The truth is that sales teams and sales professionals are just like everyone else – they need mentorship, training, and guidance to succeed. Don’t make the mistake of believing that salespeople are too aggressive or independent to listen to a leader.

Salespeople come in all shapes and sizes. They are introverted, extroverted, mathematical, artistic... but, most of all, they are driven. If you invest in your people and culture, you’ll reap the rewards of a sales team that breaks the mould.

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