In January, the team at Partner America conducted an interview with contributor Mike Cefola, the Regional Director for the State of Pennsylvania. That discussion moved into the topic of Sales. So, we decided to devote this entire issue to the subject.
MSA: In 2015, small businesses seemed focused again on growing revenues. So should this be a good time to be a salesperson?
Mike Cefola: If you are good, it is. But, if you need a lot of development, likely it won’t make much difference. George Cloutier once wrote “Most business owners don’t have a clue how to conceive and construct a disciplined sales effort.”* Unfortunately, that’s true. Business owners don’t always understand that usually you have to BUILD a sales force, and they don’t know how to do it. They will try to get good salespeople out in the field as soon as possible. Perhaps they will get lucky. Many will be disappointed.
MSA: Why’s that?
Mike Cefola: Because it’s not easy. Often salespeople are mismatched to the sales process. Or, more often it’s an issue of Sales Management not being up to par. Your own publication a couple of years ago pointed out the difference between good sales management and sales management that wasn’t so good. (Lesson 1, July-August 2011).
MSA: But aren’t the Sales Managers, typically individuals that have come up through the sales force and proved themselves?
Mike Cefola: Yes! Often that’s the problem. Most owners see it as a natural progression. Actually, it’s almost irrelevant.
MSA: I think you need to explain that a little better.
MR. Cefola: Certainly. It’s actually pretty simple. Good sales people use their internal drive and attitude. They couple it with consistent effort and practices. And, they overlay great sales techniques. Sales Managers have to get others to do it. Salesman and Sales Manager are entirely different jobs. Think about it. How many times have great baseball players made great managers? Not often.
MSA: So, how does a business owner find a good Sales Manager?
MR. Cefola: It’s more about developing and managing a good Sales Manager