Death of a Sales Manager

Death of a Sales Manager

I have watched the slow death of the professional sales manager over the last 20 years. What used to be motivational, inspiring, focused and effective sales meetings have turned into to long painful ineffective gatherings. These meetings often look and smell more like operations complaint sessions than motivational sales. Precipitating the death of the sales manager is a recent barrage of automated CRM software tools. These “do all systems” promise to fully automate the entire sales system. I am not for or against CMR as a tool but it can never replace the effectiveness of a talented motivational sales manager who serves their sales professionals.


Everyone interested in reading further should definitely watch the quintessential sales movies, Glenngary Glenn Ross and Boiler Room if you have not I highly recommend using your media consumption service of choice and watch them as soon as you can. Both of these movies have “classic” sales meetings. During my sales management training workshops I use these clips to set the mood for what’s ahead. Please be warned that the clips contain some harsh language and suggestive content that may not be suitable for all corporate audiences.





My methodology for Sales and Sales Management may not be for everyone. My system gives great results but is a lot of continuous work. It’s easier to let cloud software handle your sales enterprise… how is that working out for everyone? I know the graphs and the 3D sales pipelines look fantastic! Are you getting the results promised by your CRM system? Here are the stated facts from the most valuable CRM Company in the world’s main page.

+27% increase in sales revenues

+32% increase in lead conversion

+34% increase in customer satisfaction

+56% faster deployment

What I find most interesting about this company: As of early 2016, it is one of the most highly valued American cloud computing companies with a market capitalization above $55 billion, although the company has never turned a GAAP profit in any fiscal year since its inception in 1999. *Wikipedia

I wonder if uses its own CRM system?

My journey into the business world started when I was 19 years old by a good friend describing the horror of the weekly sales meeting at the largest electronics retail organization in Canada. He described the sales meetings as follows: “This Company is horrible! Every Saturday morning they put everyone’s sales performance numbers on a giant white board for all to see. Everyone in sales is ranked from first to last. It is so competitive! You are further ranked in each sales quality sub category – Gross Margin, Returns Percentage, Customer Service Score, and extended warranty percentage. The top performers even get bonus prizes. I can’t take this pressure anymore I am going to find something else”. These words were magic to my ears, I grew up playing competitive sports, and I have type “A” personality (disorder?) Most successful sales and business people seem to have the same (disorder); I was immediately attracted to go work for this company. This company invests heavily in sales training. I was hired and company not only paid me but put me up in a hotel for a month to attend “sales school”. The fundamentals I learned still apply today. One of the best lessons of sales learned through this journey is that it does not matter if you are selling a $1500 computer or a $1.3 Million dollar piece of rotating drilling equipment. It does not matter if it is wireline services, medical services, or technology the core sales process is the same. My most interesting observation is when the sales price goes to millions of dollars, people forget the basics of sales, and sales acumen goes out the window. It seems necessary for all the management layers to make the sales process so complicated that its amazing anyone sells anything.


Case study 1: Creating a system that would utilize the basics of extraordinary sales management methodology but built for a modern global $500 Million dollar company was an interesting journey. The challenge was to virtualize and deliver a global sales management system that tracked, motivated and supported an entire sales team across 6 Continents, 18 time zones, in a matrix organization with single product divisions doing more than $300 Million in sales. The management system needed a quantitative component for tracking performance. It needed a qualitative component (conference call). The call needed to be 30 minutes maximum (any more than a 30 minute sales call and something is wrong). Integrated performance tracking AND transparency to everyone in the company on a weekly basis. It turns out that developing an effective sales management system that drives performance, positive attitudes and wealth into the hands of the company and sales professionals is a simple formula.

  1. Know what is important to track, CRM systems if fully utilized can track hundreds to thousands of parameters. I have read sales notes so detailed and gripping that they could be a fiction novel. Most people with sales notes this good also seem to deliver nothing but fictional sales. I believe in tracking only 2 data points, QUOTES Issued and SALES BOOKINGS (By Number and Volume). That’s it. I really don’t care how many cold calls you made, how many trade shows you went to, how many times you took “Buddy” for lunch or how big your “pipe” is. The first “sale” is generate a quote/contract and issue it to the customer.
  2. Next you need transparency and healthy sales competition. I had to virtualize the white board! Every week a sales report is generated (simple tracks quotes and closes per person) the report is sent to the CEO, all executive management, business unit VP’s, manufacturing VP, and the entire sales team. WOW! This has a dramatically positive affect on the sales performance. It gives complete transparency to sales activity with the entire organization. It also drives the competitive behavior in the team after all the CEO is watching your team play the sales game. Results for this case study: broke every sales record the company ever had including sales bookings, backlog, and gross margin. Though sales process efficiency these results required no additional sales professionals or sales support resources.
  3. The Weekly Sales Meeting, due to the wide number of time zones we would hold our global sales call at 7AM Houston time on Tuesdays. Maximum 30 minutes. The Sales Report (scorecard) was sent every Monday. On the sales call hit the highlights, top sales performer, top quote issuer, and discuss the newest quotes issued for each person. We start talking to the Singapore team and roll towards North America. NO long commentaries or sales war stories, no operations discussions or other things that clutter a sales call! What you have and what you need ONLY.

These are the basics, I would welcome your comments and questions. If you found this information valuable please like, share and follow! If your business needs help with sales management and/or sales systems please contact Perfect Consulting Group™. I would love to get feedback from some of the great sales professionals that I have worked with who participated on the selling end of this support system. PERFECT has setup custom sales management machines in several companies and would welcome implementing one in your company.


About the author:

Michael Szafron has held Management and Executive positions in the Oil and Gas, Medical, Information Technology and Retail fields. Michael has grown companies and operating divisions globally, having done business in multiple industries in more than 30 countries and counting. Szafron has just finished setting up the US-based Energy Division of an Israeli company that would like to bring their MRI and NMR products into the oilfield and refining sectors. Most recently joined Perfect Consulting Group™ as COO. Perfect Consulting Group™ is a market leading organization that provides More Than Advice™ to it’s clients. Accelerating and growing business with real deliverables.                                




PERFECT CONSULTING GROUP – Delivering More than just Advice PERFECT CONSULTING GROUP was founded with a pure objective of being a company that specializes in accelerating your business and delivering bottom line results. In a world of technology where business consultancy is a norm which could ultimately help your business to flourish and thrive, Perfect Consulting Group is the venue to approach. It is our experience that targeted campaigns will produce hundreds of direct sales opportunities. The creation of a comprehensive point of sale professional toolkit will be necessary to capitalize on the market inertia that is generated. Additionally implementation resources and planning are essential so that new sales bookings can quickly, efficiently and professionally be translated into installations and revenue. Our PERFECT CONSULTING GROUP is comprised of professionals with a wide range of specialized industry experience in multiple disciplines, from business development, marketing, sales, corporate development, manufacturing, HR, legal and supply chain. In addition we have extensive experience in the up and downstream Oil and Gas, Medical and Information Technology fields. Our perfect way to win together is to bring our clients closer and study with them their pricing philosophy. At Our Perfect Consulting Group our price and services interaction provide a perfect win-win situation. Just ask us about it!

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