Sales management put at risk by feeble modern-day sales managers

The art of effective sales management is being lost as a discipline with many modern-day sales managers unable to understand that it’s an action role, not a position. Too many sales managers are unable to relate to the teams they manage as they fail to invest time needed to understand each member as individuals with unique needs and very personal aspirations.

The more intimately a sales manager understands the individuals within the team – the more appreciative, productive and successful they will be affirmed. I am passionate about the power of individuals and corporations to positively change the lives of people. My motto has always been that… “Life is short and it’s sad when people die with their dreams unrealised”.

Where are sales managers going wrong?

An absolute imperative and key role as a sales manager is to assist the individuals within the team to maximise their potential and fulfill their dreams and aspirations. As Head of Sales and Agency, I have overseen teams ranging from 2,000 to 50,000 with career spectacular results I have delivered for start-up and established organisations in Asia.

Far too many sales managers manage and lead from behind a desk and in doing so fail to create the environment, trust and respect of the team members. Many sales managers don’t know how to sell and close a sale, so they avoid joint field work at all costs to save personal embarrassment and their inability to convey skills and expertise to the team.

Credibility is paramount! Many will say interpersonal sales skills are obsolete in the modern digital/social media era. This is far from the truth, especially for those ‘big ticket’ items such as real estate, motor vehicles, marine, construction/development, financial services, etc.

How can sales managers effectively lead their teams?

For these, the consumer demands the reassurance of a human being in order to buy the product or service. The sales manager has six key functions to perform. Sales managers that execute these six functions will be rewarded with successful and winning sales teams.

  1. Recruit; quality individuals that are a cultural fit within the sales team and organisation.
  2. Train; this is two-dimensional that can’t be performed at a distance. The sales manager must be able to train in the office and field showing how ‘it’s done’ in real life situations.
  3. Control; they must be able to control activities of the individuals that comprise the team.
  4. Organise events; conferences, functions, etc. and needs to be undertaken with great care.
  5. Sales climate; the sales manager is responsible for the ‘climate’ within the team with appropriate recognition, rewards and acknowledgement – including discipline if needed.
  6. Clear goals & plans; that are easily able to be communicated and understood by the team.


Rob Macpherson joined the life assurance industry in 1973 and has worked as an agent, Unit Manager, State Sales Manager NSW and his Asia experience includes Assistant Vice President Hong Kong and Chief Agency Officer in China, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Russia, Thailand, Cambodia and most recently in Myanmar.  A total of 11 countries including England and Australia.