For our final 2 blogs in this series on sales management pain points, we’re discussing a very fundamental quality for someone’s successful conduct in life—that of virtues. In keeping with our topic, these virtues are, of course, for sales managers specifically.
Perhaps more than other, more average fields, you really need virtues in sales management. The bottom line: if you don’t clearly understand how a sales manager needs to be poised for the future, you reduce the chances of creating value and growth. It is for this purpose I have laid out these virtues.
In Part 1, we covered in detail why these virtues are necessary, and the first 2 sales management virtues themselves. Here, we cover the last 5 virtues.
Virtue 3: Hope (Latin: Spes)
Most people think of hope as something done in the mind, with no action. But that is not what I mean by this particular virtue. In this instance, hope includes action. The kind of hope I mean includes and is connected to action.
For example, you as a sales manager will be issuing quotas, and working with each member of the team to get them achieved. Hope is that ingredient of optimism that communicates to the reps that you indeed believe they will make those quotas.
Your hope for the future, combined with the actions that you take to actually shape that future, are what, in the end, will bring that future about.
Virtue 4: Moderation (Latin: Temperantia)
As we all know, moderation is a term the business world does not generally like to see. And it’s true—we certainly don’t want to “moderate” our financial results.
So how does moderation apply to sales management? It very aptly applies to the oceans of data that come into a sales organization. It applies especially to businesses that have no plan, and that let too much information be collected. That data, in turn, can no longer be retrieved or processed.
Moderation is therefore required when obligating employees to collect data. It is needed when using instruments and processes to increase the value of information that is collected, found and used. Moderation extends from the parameters set for data collection, through to the specific technology utilized for the collection, storage and analysis of that data.
Virtue 5: Fairness (Latin: Iustitia)
Fairness is a broad subject that relates back to the age-old subject of justice. Justice, as we have seen in today’s world, can go quite astray. So fairness and justice are very important subjects.
A sales manager must establish fairness, but not the kind of across-the-board fairness that some political candidates are calling for today. That kind of fairness—the same equality for everyone everywhere—just doesn’t exist.
In sales, there are different kinds of fairness in all different areas. Their fairness to your team, the individual, in compensation, in commissions, to the customer, and to the other parts of the company.
Fairness, like wisdom and like just about any other virtue, requires responsibility. You must take that responsibility to be able to see what fairness is, and how it would be applied in any given situation.
In my opinion a sales manager, if they are good, tries to balance between the different types of people in a team. You never have only superstars—you have good ones, you have middle ones, you mediocre ones, you have bad ones.
There is an old maxim about hiring: “Hire the best and fire the rest.” While that sounds great, it doesn’t reflect reality because you can’t hire only the best. You’ll always have people that are better, and you’ll always have people that are not that good—they might perhaps regularly fulfill their quotas but never outperform them—but you need these people, too.
You utilize fairness in dealing with each of these different types.
Virtue 6: Charity (Latin: Caritas)
What is Charity? Is it when you don’t fire the person that is constantly underperforming? No. The reality is, charity has nothing to do with someone who is lazy. Charity stops before laziness.
But if you see someone who is really trying, it could be you might give him or her another chance. Charity certainly does mean giving people chances, giving people options—but only when they deserve it. When they don’t it makes no sense to keep them.
An example of where charity should be applied might be when someone is in a job they are not doing well at, but are really and truly trying yet struggling. At least for their effort they deserve the opportunity to be placed in another position in which they might excel.
Charity also extends to the qualities of partnership and respect needed to deal with your team and your colleagues. It also includes the spirit of collaboration with other departments and partners.
Virtue 7: Trust (Latin: Fides)
Then we get to Trust, which is the most important virtual of all.
In a conversation recently with my sales team, I said that the most important thing that you have to do with the buyer is understanding the perception of the buyer. Once you understand that, the next thing you have to build is trust. When you build trust with the prospect, the prospect is telling you their fears, their problems, what goes into the selection process, and why they are evaluating solutions.
For the prospect, it could be about security. Maybe they’re worried about choosing a solution that doesn’t work and they might get fired. You don’t know. So when you as a seller have built trust, the buyer will start telling you what the real issues are. In that moment, you sell within the framework of trust.
In sales management, the most important thing is to build trust with your reps. If they don’t trust you and you don’t trust them, how can you be a team?
As a final word on trust, I will quote renowned management expert and economist Fredmund Malik:
“What is meant by integrity of character? What is a personality with integrity? Books could be written on this subject, and indeed many have been. Much of what is written is terribly obscure, impenetrable and metaphysical, and very complicated. All the philosophical discussion of this topic boils down to something very simple: People must mean what they say, and act accordingly.
“Consistency is just as important as predictability. Most people understand trust as a general, somewhat unclear emotion or feeling. Through trust may be accompanied by emotions, this does not necessarily have to be the case, and emotions are, above all, not particularly dependable. Trust is built on the foundation of predictability and dependability.”
I hope these virtues can assist you in better performing your role as a sales manager.
The best CRM to keep sales managers and sales teams totally focused in this digital age is Pipeliner CRM.