Sales managers must be roadblock removers


Sales managers - roadblock removers

Sales managers – roadblock removers

Sales managers – how does your sales team spend its time? If you’re like most, it’s likely that your salespeople are attending too many unnecessary meetings and responding to too many unnecessary requests for information.  And on a bad day maybe even being dragged into saying, “yes” to participating in projects that have nothing to do with selling.  You can’t sell if you are not selling and most sales reps spend too much time not selling. 

Sound familiar? Simply put, there are roadblocks that every sales rep faces that are time-sinks.  They happen throughout the year – but we’re raising the concern now because it seems these roadblocks are particularly challenging at the start of the year when companies begin new initiatives in Marketing, Sales Support, IT, HR, etc.

In assessing whether this is a problem worth addressing it is informative to look at some success statistics.  Recently the TAS group in partnership with published a study on how well things are going out there.  One of the telling statistics was – 67% of professional salespeople do not obtain their individual quotas.  That is understandable when one considers that 50% of sales reps close less than 40% of their qualified opportunities.

There are numerous reasons for such depressing statistics.  Some are tougher to address than others.  One, as a sales manager, you can directly impact is the amount of time spent doing something other than selling – start playing the role of a roadblock remover.

One way sales managers can help their sales teams capture more time to focus on sales is to help them handle requests from others – most notably other divisions and corporate staff.  When requests come in, sales managers can serve the role of a filter – not simply funneling everything directly to the sales team.

After all, some of the requests are frankly irrelevant and can be skillfully ignored, some can be handled by someone other than a salesperson and some can be quickly put to bed by the sales manager themselves.  Is this one of those things worth attention?  This is best answered by speculating what would be the different in terms of revenue if your sales team spent 10% more time selling.

Sales success in major accounts hinges on salespeople spending time crafting and modifying their account sales strategies and executing sales calls.  To increase 2014 sales, one resolution every sales manager might consider is: remove roadblocks to free up more time for salespeople to sell.

If you found this post helpful, you might want to join the conversation and subscribe to the Sales Training Connection.

©2014 Sales Momentum®

About Janet Spirer

For more than 30 years Dr. Richard Ruff and Dr. Janet Spirer - the founders of Sales Horizons - have worked with the Fortune 1000 - such as UPS, Canon USA, Smith & Nephew, Boston Scientific, Owens & Minor, Textron - to design and develop sales training programs. Janet has followed two different, yet complimentary paths. First, as a B-School Professor she taught marketing, sales, and business strategy courses. She also managed a consulting practice focusing on sales productivity and marketing – working with a variety of clients ranging from Xerox to IBM. She translated those experiences into a book – “Parlez-Vous Business” – that helps sales people develop the business savvy to sell successfully. Since co-founding Sales Momentum® in 2000 with Richard Dr. Spirer received her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University, an M.P.A. from The University of Texas at Austin, and a B.A. in Economics from Brooklyn College. She holds the appointment of Professor Emeritus at Marymount University.
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2 Responses to Sales managers must be roadblock removers

  1. Ruben Corona says:

    Richard, love this article because I have found that many Sales Managers are not “Synergistic Leaders” they are managers. When you are a manager you are managing and not leading, you are not influencing and you are definitely not proactively teaching. To remove roadblocks you must be thinking of others from a proactive mindset, that’s not most managers. If you are leading and teachings then you are telling your sales executives about the “magic hours” the three hours before work (5-8 am) and the two hours after work (6-8pm), these are the hours to complete all the busy work. This is a learned behavior taught by Synergistic Leaders, Unfortunately most managers just complete tasks and reacts to bad numbers. Synergistic Leaders plan selflessly and help their sales executives become better, they help their sales executives earn more and they focus on helping each sales executive attain greater self-worth through career success. Synergistic Leaders protect their sales people, they battle the c-suite to get their teams the tools and administrative support they need to be leveraged and armed with everything they need to keep exceeding quota.

  2. Richard Ruff says:


    Thanks for the interest and the comment. From our experience there appears little question the sales manger is the pivot job for improving sales performance. This simple idea of removing roadblocks is something that every manager could do – and the action does increase selling time which is a really big deal as your comments suggest.


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