Managing Up

Posted: April 7, 2010 in Making Customers
Tags: , ,

Most of us, when we think of sales management, think of the management and leadership tasks we need to do with our salespeople – hiring, training and motivating are the main topics usually addressed. Managing the day to day sales function, making sure that our salespeople are doing what they are supposed to be doing, and dealing with the problems that arise in the field.

But that is only half of the job. And that’s the easy half!

If we have been managing for very long, most sales managers have painfully discovered that the part of the job we are least prepared for and often needs the most work is our ability to manage up. How do we effectively interact with Presidents, Owners, CFO’s, COO’s, Controllers and other senior level managers in such a way that will give us the maximum impact with our sales staffs? We are the representative of our salespeople to most of the company. Our salespeople usually interact with only a few internal employees and team members, but as the sales manager or sales executive, we not only set expectations for company employees of our salespeople, but we are the main attitude generator of thoughts and feelings towards our sales staffs.

Salespeople make their living by how well they communicate and persuade. They don’t earn what they earn because they are particularly good with numbers and spreadsheets, can read plans or schematics, or understand the ins and outs of production, distribution or construction. They make their living because they are good on their feet verbally, are engaging, energetic, optimistic – and can sell. The question for you as a sales manager is – can you effectively communicate human potential and the intangibles of selling and the intricacies of the sales process to not only the members of the senior management team, but to the entire company?

By Kirk Chittick

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