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Why Sales Supervisors Fail to Succeed


Why Sales Supervisors Fail to Succeed

In this article, Guillermo Herbozo explains why the goal of sales supervisors is often forgotten.

Sales supervisors spend less than 20% of their time developing the skills of their team members. Even worse, the quality of the time invested is not ideal. Absence of a strong dedicated coach is perhaps the largest cause of failure for sales representatives. It also leads to increasingly high levels of employee turnover and soaring recruiting, on-boarding and training costs across industries. The solution is quite simple: Supervisors should spend ~70% of their time developing their team members. To do this, teams need to be adequately staffed, their leaders need to have clear goals and Supervisors need to be well-chosen and trained. Lastly, senior leaders need to model the behaviors they want Managers and Supervisors to follow.

A false notion of efficiency often results in overstaffed teams and Supervisors being asked to fulfill a large number of tasks; all while being responsible for developing their teams. The result is a Supervisor that spends most of the day on a combination of administrative work, issue resolution, calls and meetings. It also results in frustration; Supervisors who can’t find the time to do their most meaningful work and Representatives who can’t figure out how to improve their results. We all agree that efficiency in an organization is instrumental to success. The secret is maximizing efficiency without compromising effectiveness.

Another hurdle has to do with the Supervisors’ lack of clarity on the Ultimate Goal:  Developing the skills of their teams so that each representative can exceed goals. A Supervisor whose goal is not set clearly, and thus, who is not kept accountable to it will likely follow the much easier path of focusing on administrative work, calls and meetings. Even more, the Supervisor will rarely push back on the many other tasks their leaders will ask them to take on. Think about your own work day and how productivity takes a hit on days when you are not clear about what you want to achieve.

An additional problem exists. Supervisors typically don’t really know how to coach and manage their teams. Supervisors are primarily selected from among the top-performing Representatives.  They know the products and services well, they have a good command of the sales and company processes and they have the right attitude and discipline. It’s a great start. Companies need to do more to prevent top-performing employees from becoming disgruntled ones and to ensure they can help others excel.

Key points include:

  • False notions of efficiency

  • Poor coaching and training skills

  • The expert trap

Read the full article, Sales Supervisors’ Ultimate Goal has been forgotten, on Linkedin.