• Vaughn Sigmon

You Can’t Manage Salespeople Like Anyone Else in the Organization

Let's face it: Because sales are so important to the success of all businesses, great sales management can bring about results that compensate for a multitude of problems elsewhere in the organization.

What I've discovered and will share with you a basic method that when used to manage sales staffs they will consistently deliver excellent results. Over the decades, I have had the opportunity to develop some of many methods. I have also been fortunate to learn from some very talented people who developed management methods that have resulted in great sales results for their organizations. With their help, I've been able to connect many of the dots in the ongoing puzzle.

In this blog, I will share with you the a method of managing a sales team to bring about superior level sales performances. These are all from my Results Driven Sales Manager Program.

But understanding the method shared is not enough. You need to dedicate the needed time to put it to work for you. Even if you are already very busy, by devoting a surprisingly small amount of time to implement this approach, you can make greater sales results happen immediatley.


More than most employees in other parts of the organization, people who sell for a living have a high need for praise and positive reinforcement, an aversion to administrative work and other personality quirks that make managing them more of a challenge. If you try to manage them as though they were other employees, you will run the risk of reducing their effectiveness as salespeople.

No other postion in your company faces the amount of rejection that your sales team does. Phone messages not being returned, no response to emails, getting shut down by gate keepers, and generally mistreated due to the stigma attached to the profession of being a salesperson.

Keeping thier heads in the right frame is essential to their success and thus your success.You need to manage your salespeople differently than other employees to get them to reach their top sales potential. Keeping this in mind as a foundational element of your leadership approach may be the difference between their achieving great sales success, adequate success, OR even failure with their sales results.

I'm not saying that all salespeople are different from most other employees. I'm saying most of the high-level salespeople I have met are different and consequently need to be managed differently. This isn't bad vs. good different. It just realizes that they are who they are and as such need to be managed based on what is most effective for managing who they are.

You do not lead by hitting people over the head. That's assault, not management. –

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Management interaction needed to make your salespeople into top-level sales performers requires an accurate perception of what makes them different. Once you understand their individual behavioral and motivational factors that drive their actions, your management impact will be enhanced.

Let’s look at one way to overcome these challenges that are common for effectively managing salespeople. By using this technique you'll personally most likely experience an increase in satisfaction, rather than frustration, when managing them. Your sales management role will be more enjoyable and less stressful.

Challenge: Managing Big Or Fragile Egos

While many view top-performing salespeople as having "big egos," others might describe them as having needs fueled by fragile egos. One of the best salespeople I have met told me, “I need to get great sales results because it is a way of proving something to my mother.”

He explained that his mother had often expressed doubts about him succeeding. This need to prove himself by closing sales was true even though his mother had been dead for many years.

Consider this comment from an experienced salesperson after getting his company's coveted yearly outstanding sales performance award: “I know I have some emotional baggage, and the truth is I constantly need to prove to myself that I am good at closing sales.” Not all salespeople are so honest.

Most of the other employees who worked with these two salespeople thought that they had big egos, but the fact is that their egos might be better described as fragile.

The point is that there is a way for you to use ego-driven need to bring about greater sales results. The idea is to use social recognition for motivating salespeople. I consider social recognition as an essential part of the methods you should be using to manage your salespeople.

Most outstanding salespeople seem to have a strong drive to achieve measurable results that others can see. These top salespeople are highly motivated by their accomplishments and want "the world to know if they achieve better results than their fellow salespeople." As a result, awards and plaques that can be displayed are great motivators for these salespeople.

Supporting salespeople emotionally means publicly honoring those employees who deliver great results. One effective way to do this is with a steady stream of company-sponsored awards. Yes, this is the treatment that most other people working for the organization don't get. And yes, successful salespeople need (and deserve) that kind of special treatment. But it is important that you celebrate great sales results publicly.

Publicize sales performance awards with a letter to the salesperson's home. Incorporate the good news in organization newsletters and posters around the office that prominently feature the picture of the award winner for the month.

Give recognition as often as possible. It is more impactful to give out a monthly “Top Sales Performer” award to the member of the sales team who had the highest revenue total for the period than to give out only once a year for the Top Sales Performer of the year.

Spend the time needed to give a name for the award that has the potential for the highest motivational impact. What you call the award often carries powerful emotional messaging.

For example, giving an award that is called Outstanding Sales Performer for the month might mean more to your sales staff than calling it the Top Sales Performer award. Also, some people are offended by military and weapon terminology in awards, so it is best not to use such references in your awards.

Create, experiment, and change when appropriate the reward system that is right for reinforcing the strong, but still easily bruised, egos of the salespeople you manage.

Always remember, that motivation and inspiration is not ONE SIZE FITS ALL.

Want to learn more about 18 inpirational methods that I know will give you ideas on how to get the most out of your sales team members?

Contact me for a free exercise to Evaluate Your Inspirational Ability!

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Vaughn Sigmon Business Coaching

Orange County CA


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