This is an excerpt from my second book, Managing the Sales Process, available on You can find a series of these excerpts in a dedicated blog category to get a broad overview, post-by-post, of the book (they are listed in reverse order in the category, so start with the oldest).


An effective sales manager with six to ten direct reports will probably need 75% or more of his working time to properly hold salespeople accountable, coach them, motivate them, recruit continuously (more on this later), and manage all of the administrative duties required of a sales manager. Beyond this, a lot of them are expected to sell.

So the question that comes up again and again is this: Does the person who is supposed to be doing these sales manager tasks have the time to do them, and if not, why not and who is doing them?

The answers to the “why not” question has already been covered. Usually, the sales manager is so busy selling that the time spent on sales management is minimal at best. If the sales manager is not holding salespeople accountable, coaching, and motivating, then no one is.

As an organization, a company has to ask what kind of sales organization it wants. The best answer is one that is filled with competent, profitable salespeople who are supported by an engaged manager who holds them accountable and supports their efforts.

This probably sounds idealistic to most readers, but if you think about it, it’s a bit sad that it does. If salespeople don’t need managing, why have sales managers. And if sales managers are going to sell, as is the case in most organizations, then why call them managers ─ there should just be self-managed salespeople?

So either you should have a group of self-managed salespeople and no manager or a manager who manages? That makes sense. What does not make sense is a bunch of salespeople who are self-managed and a sales manager above them who doesn’t spend time with them because he is doing the same job they are (or worse, pretending to manage but not really doing much of anything).

But when it is not clear what the sales manager can do to enhance the value of the sales organization, they sell and don’t manage, as illogical as that is. If this is the case in your sales organization, consider this section of the book carefully and think about what makes sense for your organization.


Does failure to execute have consequences?

Now that it is clear what a sales manager should be doing, the question has to be asked, does the increased sales revenue that the sales manager’s execution of management work bring justify the salary?

When a sales manager manages the right people, along the right process, and holds them accountable for their efforts and their results, great things can happen to your sales organization as a whole ─ but only when the accountability process has real consequences.

If salespeople are being held accountable, and failure to execute a clearly defined sales process agreed upon with an engaged sales manager has real consequences, then yes, a sales manager is a valuable and indispensable part of a sales machine that is designed to grow. Let’s explore that in detail in the last section, Part 3 ─ The Right Outcomes.



Authors note (AKA shameless plugs)

So, this 7-step sales process and associated topics…. Yup, I write about that a lot. I’ve been working with it since I developed it about 25 years ago – in my own diverse work experiences, with my teams when I had them, and with clients ever since.

If you would like to develop you own personalized and customized, highly effective and efficient B2B selling system, here are some further steps you can take:

The Salesman’s Guide to Dating is a free or very cheap (depending on Amazon) Kindle book that walks you through the sales process using the familiar analogy of dating. It’s a good, fun and quick way to get your mind around the whole process and how the pieces fit together.

Building Your Sales Process (BYSP) is a free and very thorough exploration of the same 7-step process that will walk you through the development of your own customized, personal B2B selling system. When you are done, you will know exactly what to do to get new business.

The Momentum Selling System® is an inexpensive but very robust online sales training course that is similar to BYSP, but goes deeper into the concepts behind each of the steps, and also helps you develop a plan not only for the 7-step process but also addresses mindset, repeat business and client base management.

If none of that sounds right, I do personal coaching and offer a free 30-minute intake session so that we can both learn if it makes sense to work together 1-on-1. If this sounds interesting, click over to the coaching page on this site and sign up for the free session.

Here’s to your success!