Top 5 Sales Management Best Practices

Dave Kurlan is a top-rated keynote speaker, best-selling author, sales thought leader and expert on all things sales and selling.

The first problem with today’s title is the “5” in “Top 5.”

They are not the 5 on which most sales managers spend their time, so let’s begin with the sales management practices on which most sales managers actually spend their time.  By the way, that’s how so many “best practices” (that aren’t) actually get published.  Authors ask (in this case sales managers) how they spend their time.  The answers that are most often reported become best practices.  So I repeat, the first list does not contain best practices, but includes those activities on which most sales managers spend their time.

The 5 practices, which aren’t best practices, on which sales managers spend their time:

  1. Selling
  2. Putting out fires
  3. Creating, reading and distributing reports
  4. Closing deals for salespeople
  5. Teaching (not coaching, but lecturing)

Let’s see how those actually compare with the Top 5 Sales Management Best Practices – not the things sales managers necessarily do, but the things sales managers should  do:

  1. Coaching (should account for 50% of a sales manager’s time)
  2. Accountability (to KPI’s, pipeline and sales process)
  3. Recruiting (on-going process of upgrading the sales team)
  4. Motivating (more and more salespeople are not money-motivated, so this is more important)
  5. Development (grooming a replacement)

When you compare the best practices with the standard practices, you’ll see that there isn’t any overlap!  I’m describing two completely different sets of responsibilities, even though the role – sales management – is identical.

If you are a sales manager, how difficult will it be to change what you currently do in your role to follow best practices rather than existing practices?

If sales managers report to you, how difficult will it be to get your sales managers to make that change?

The biggest challenge to adopting these best practices is that while coaching and accountability sound familiar, Objective Management Group’s data shows that 86% of all sales managers aren’t effective at either.


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