I’ve just gotten off another conference call where the subject was Ford’s CPP’s and budget declines. Proof, yet again, that our transactional business isn’t going to take us to the promised land.
Every broadcast group I know is focused on getting better, and one of the critical ways we can get better is to make sure our sales managers are as good as they can be.
There’s no doubt. Great sales managers maximize their opportunities. The market may be down but a great sales manager does a great job of controlling the controllables.
Having a great sales manager is more important than ever. So, how do you know if you have one?
One of the best ways you can determine that is to evaluate your sales manager using Jack Welch’s 4 E’s approach. Welch was the legendary CEO of GE, and was probably best known for how GE evaluated talent.
During Welch’s tenure, every GE manager was reviewed based on these four criteria!
Here’s my take on what these mean for sales managers.
#1 – Do they bring ENERGY
The best sales managers bring energy into the office every single day. Energy isn’t just rah-rah, although that’s part of it. It’s not just positive thinking, although that’s not bad either. I think energy is having a vision about how to grow the business and then having the discipline to turn that vision into a plan. Do they have a plan that is well-communicated to the team?
#2 – Do they ENERGIZE their team?
There are still too many managers who feel that management is about “the beatings will continue ‘til morale improves.” Too many managers who manage by task or project or avail and forget to lead people.
You’ve seen my favorite Keith Harrell quote before. “You can’t jump a dead battery with a dead battery.”
The best sales managers have the ability to get their teams energized. There’s a lot of ways to do that, but the best is to create a culture where people love to come to work. Think, applause and fun for the 70% of a sales staff who are Socializers. Culture is critical. But it’s not enough. Great leaders combine culture with a commitment to skill growth that inspires/pushes people to be better.
By the way, having a powerful culture is your #1 recruiting tool. Stations that are regarded as the best place to work in the market (which has little to do with ratings, by the way) have way fewer problems attracting quality people, and that’s critical for our future.
How well does your sales manager do at getting his/her AE’s energized?
#3 – Do they give you an EDGE?
What would you lose if they left? That’s a question a very smart GM taught me to ask about AE’s who resign. If an AE is leaving and you aren’t sure you’ll lose anything, that’s not a big loss.
Great sales managers give you an edge that you wouldn’t have without them. Maybe it’s their ability to attract stars… maybe it’s a few key accounts they own… maybe they help close a lot of business… or are fabulous at big pitches. Or, best of all, your AE’s follow them to higher and higher levels of activity.
I think if you ask the question “what would I lose if they left” about your sales manager, and the answer is, “not much…” you may have answered your question about your sales manager’s effectiveness. Having a sales manager who is positive and enthusiastic but doesn’t give you a competitive edge isn’t enough today. There may have been a time when it was, but not today!
#4 – Are they EFFECTIVE?
Do they get the job done?
Hey, everyone reading this is paid for results. So getting results was a key part of the Welch evaluation. Does your sales manager make your budgets? Or, if transactional has gone down the tubes, is your sales manager maximizing their opportunities in digital, core, D2, new business, and sports and specials.
I like the first three and think they’re important. But if a manager has all three of those and doesn’t have #4, they’re likely not what we need. We have to get results.
Of course, I believe that if a manager does the first three things well, there’s a very good chance they’ll be effective. But delivering the number is a critical component of how we evaluate a great sales manager.
While I’m at it, making budget isn’t enough. We have managers (and AE’s) missing or making budgets because of things that have nothing to do with them. Transactional is hot and they make budget; it’s crappy and they miss. Neither of those really indicate how good they are as a leader. GE developed these four criteria so that business performance was not the only thing that determined how they judged a manager. But it absolutely was on the list.
I’ve been telling sales leaders that a C+ AE today will be a D in 3 years as the business gets tougher. The same thing is true for sales managers. If they’re average today, they’ll likely be way below average in just a couple of years.
I’ve worked with hundreds of sales staffs in the 26 years of JDA. And I will guarantee you that no factor determines success as much as the quality of the leadership.
Have a GSM or GM meeting in your future? Why not have Jim Doyle or John Hannon speak to your meeting about how to turn your sales staff into a Sales Force? We promise powerful, thought-provoking content customized to your company’s needs. Contact Jim Doyle at email@example.com or call 941-926-SELL.
We’re also taking reservations for our 2018 High Performance Sales Manager’s Boot Camp – January 28-30th in Tampa, FL. Do you know someone who could benefit from this high intensity training? Someone who would walk away saying what this LSM did after our 2016 Boot Camp – “I am a new LSM. This was life changing in both my personal and professional life in many ways. My GM asked me what my thoughts were and if I thought this was a good experience. My reply was, “OMG!!! YES!!” “But not in the motivational type of way. In a real world, step by step, instructional, actin plan, type of way!” Thank you!” Interested? Contact Anne Fowler, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 941-926-SELL (7355) for more info.