Is It Really Difficult, part two: 19 Months!

Just after I finished the previous post, I found this slam against sales managers, pondering why the average tenure of a sales manager is 19 months:

“Think about this: The sales department of most organizations lags other departments in the areas of compliance in documented processes (think GAAP for accounting and ISO 9000 for manufacturing), performance measurement, technology support, and in many cases the employment of best practices.”

So, if you take the fact from part one that salespeople have the wrong approach to making sales, this part puts the blame on the sales manager.

My take: You try to be the sales manager to make and enforce new rules/processes for an entrenched sales force and see if your tenue is longer or shorter than 19 months!

12 Replies to “Is It Really Difficult, part two: 19 Months!”

  1. I think you can have all the product knowledge in the world, but if you don’t understand how people work, you’ll be out the door faster than you can blink!Do techie companies, put techies in their sales force? Coming from an engineering background, business coaching and marketing software development, I can tell you that sales is the last place to put the geeks! That’s why they invented the application engineer… the sales people tag along on the appointments, further down thru the sales funnel. Product knowledge great, people knowledge..best. Jeff LevinBusiness CoachFounder http://www.growthPOD.com http://www.jefflevin.com

  2. I think you can have all the product knowledge in the world, but if you don’t understand how people work, you’ll be out the door faster than you can blink!Do techie companies, put techies in their sales force? Coming from an engineering background, business coaching and marketing software development, I can tell you that sales is the last place to put the geeks! That’s why they invented the application engineer… the sales people tag along on the appointments, further down thru the sales funnel. Product knowledge great, people knowledge..best. Jeff LevinBusiness CoachFounder http://www.growthPOD.com http://www.jefflevin.com

  3. Jeff–Thanks for the comment. Yea, techies can make terrible salespeople als Dilbert.But once I have a ‘salesperson’ it becomes a priority to make sure they know the product. Because engineers respect (and buy) from salespeople who know their product (or delivers answers by getting the right techies from their staff).Either way, you can’t have it all.

  4. Jeff–Thanks for the comment. Yea, techies can make terrible salespeople als Dilbert.But once I have a ‘salesperson’ it becomes a priority to make sure they know the product. Because engineers respect (and buy) from salespeople who know their product (or delivers answers by getting the right techies from their staff).Either way, you can’t have it all.

  5. I agree these factors can contribute to short sales tenure, but there’s more going on. The reason is because when it comes to things like standardized methodologies, performance measurement, and technology support, Marketing is much worse off than Sales. Sales executives have the advantage of standardized SFA tools, institutionalized sales methodologies like Miller-Heiman, and an easy way to measure performance (just look at the end of quarter revenue number). Marketing doesn’t have any of that support (although Marketo is trying to fix that). So why would sales executives have an even shorter tenure than their marketing counterparts? The key reason is better accountability makes it easier and faster to identify underperformers. Since Sales is the most accountable function in the organization, it is no surprise that it has such high churn.This has a key implication for b2b marketers, who need to become more acccountable. Accountability shines a bright light on poor performance as well as good performance, meaning predictability and accountability are necessary but not sufficient conditions for CMOs to earn the respect – and job security – they deserve. Without better performance, better accountability will actually hurt marketing’s role in the organization.

  6. I agree these factors can contribute to short sales tenure, but there’s more going on. The reason is because when it comes to things like standardized methodologies, performance measurement, and technology support, Marketing is much worse off than Sales. Sales executives have the advantage of standardized SFA tools, institutionalized sales methodologies like Miller-Heiman, and an easy way to measure performance (just look at the end of quarter revenue number). Marketing doesn’t have any of that support (although Marketo is trying to fix that). So why would sales executives have an even shorter tenure than their marketing counterparts? The key reason is better accountability makes it easier and faster to identify underperformers. Since Sales is the most accountable function in the organization, it is no surprise that it has such high churn.This has a key implication for b2b marketers, who need to become more acccountable. Accountability shines a bright light on poor performance as well as good performance, meaning predictability and accountability are necessary but not sufficient conditions for CMOs to earn the respect – and job security – they deserve. Without better performance, better accountability will actually hurt marketing’s role in the organization.

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