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Is Sales Management Still Broken? “Hands-On” vs. “Hands-Off”

I recently posted a question on Paul Castain’s Sales Playbook LinkedIn discussion group about the “Ideal Sales Management Style”. The responses varied, with the majority concluding that a combination of  “hands-on” vs. “hands-off” was the best solution. I agreed with that analysis. I am with my 7th company in 16 years of corporate life, so I have a very good idea how I like to be managed, and how I manage now.

I had no intention of discussing this thread on my blog until I saw the comment below. I received this startling entry from Kevin Dankosky about two weeks ago, and it has really stuck with me. I will abstain from my opinion, rather eagerly anticipating your take on his incredible story!

“Funny this question comes up. I went to visit an old childhood friend for lunch last week and we were talking about his career in health care sales. He is about 15 years my junior. Let me predicate this by saying that I’ve always more of hand-off type of sales manager who is very selective about his hires, trains them well and then treats them like gold – 99% of the time they do a great job.

So we are having a nice lunch and he gets a text message from his boss reminding him (and the other regional sales people) of the daily conference call at 1:00 (it was 12:30 at the time). We are having such a good discussion at lunch we run a little late so at 12:58, while taking me back to the airport, he has to put the conference call on in the car through the radio.

I was shocked, the sales manager has everyone check in .. Joe here, Mary here, Larry here, Curly here .. then the meeting begins. Details on all the main target accounts, timelines on closing deals, number of sales calls made today, number of cold calls made, etc. Fortunately I got to the airport (20 minutes later) before the end of the call.

I was shocked. If I were a sales rep and that occurred on a daily basis, I’d go nuts. In addition to having been a sales manager and sales person, I’m also a coach and teacher. I think it’s up to you as a sales manager to know each person on your sales team and find out what makes them “click”. Some will need more hands on attention while others need just a nudge.

Regardless, if you feel the need to “ride” them each day, you either don’t have confidence in them or you have a power obsession. Again, if you hire the right person, train them well, support them and treat them well, the rest will fall into place. I guess that’s a long way of saying I’m more “hands-off”. – Kevin Dankosky

Oh yeah, if you love sales and business and you are not a member of Paul Castain’s Sales Playbook Linkedin Group, what are you waiting for? Here is the link:

http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Sales-Playbook-1832739/about

No spam, no personal promotion, 30,000+ members. It is the best place to hang out that I have found and it has changed the way I sell and manage.

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