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Sales Force Management Profile:
Compare High Performers to Low Producers

Position Overview: Superior sales managers will be great teachers and able to easily direct and controls the activities of their subordinates. Being highly quantitative, profit will be a constant goal. Their highly self-directed initiative will lead them in their efforts. They will always be willing to make joint sales calls with sales reps and shine in presentation situations.

Predictive Skills: Nine characteristics will predict management success in this sales management position. Review below how top sales performers will differ from lower performers.


Demonstrates a commitment to the continuous education and training of others as a means of increasing their overall competency and productivity; prepares more structured sessions to cover the most critical areas of learning for the audience; stays on top of information needed by colleagues and customers in an effort to serve as a resource; takes responsibility for motivating others to learn and retain key information; reinforces what is being taught through periodic repetition; regularly assesses individual and group competencies and routinely addresses them by adjusting his training


  • Prepares scheduled and consistent programs to train or educate others
  • Establishes measurable criteria for assessing progress in the learning process
  • Demonstrates patience and a willingness to repeat or reinforce ideas and information until the audience understands
  • Focuses training sessions on those competencies that will make a difference in the group’s ultimate effectiveness
  • Concentrates more on the results produced or change accomplished through his training than with how attractive or entertaining the training can be


  • Prefers one-on-one training or a more loosely organized curriculum to the structured requirements of a scheduled class session
  • Expects the people he is training to be self-motivated to learn and becomes impatient when required to repeat or reinforce information he has already covered
  • Does not implement a tracking process for assessing the effectiveness of his teaching efforts or the progress of his trainees
  • Enjoys working on content delivery and may be more concerned with the audience’s assessment of his public speaking skills than with the subject matter
  • Tries to make the training entertaining at the expense of providing only relevant information


Accepts a supporting role in the sales process and sets level of involvement in accordance with what the primary salesperson needs; uses joint sales calls as opportunities to share expertise or demonstrate effective techniques; is dedicated to providing backup and expertise to help salespeople secure a close; uses joint calls to model sales techniques for less experienced salespeople; knows when to move to the forefront in the sales process, and when to stay in the background


  • Regularly observes assigned salespeople in action to offer suggestions for skill development
  • Is willing to step out of the limelight and function in a supporting role
  • Responds to sales opportunities with minimal preparation; able to ‘think on his feet’ when circumstances change and share his rationale with the primary salesperson
  • Adjusts coaching or assistance to accommodate the unpredictable aspects of each customer contact
  • Keeps the focus of his training and support on getting the order, relegating his own administrative or procedural tasks to a lower priority


  • Can be tempted to take the sale out of the salesperson’s hands (show him how it’s done) rather than stand back and function as a final safety net (let him learn from his mistakes)
  • Needs too much information or preparation time to take the initiative in quickly evolving opportunities
  • May focus on tracking administrative or procedural issues at the expense of joining the salesperson on actual calls


Possesses a span of control that allows direct access to all of the key staff people in the group or organization; practices a hands-on, face-to-face coaching style and seeks personal involvement in day-to-day tasks; utilizes a walk-around style to follow up and ensure that delegated tasks are effectively completed


  • Provides full and complete information in making assignments, including timelines and results expectations
  • Ensures that subordinates understand the measurements that monitor progress toward goals and results
  • Consistently follows up to track results and understands the need for occasional repetition or reinforcement of guidelines
  • Does not abdicate in delegation, but stays personally involved, using first-hand knowledge of the steps for achieving the goal to coach less experienced individuals
  • Broadens his control by giving subordinates a chance to develop their skills and contribute to the organization, but remains a presence so that deviations from the goal can be quickly identified


  • Gives insufficient information or explanation when assigning tasks
  • Does not expect to repeat himself or find it necessary to restate objectives or performance criteria
  • Assumes subordinates can do what he can do without intervention, and experiences frustration when results do not meet expectations
  • Prefers to direct others through more formal processes and expects them to perform as agreed without reminding or coaching
  • Resists personal involvement in monitoring or assisting with subordinate efforts and results, expecting them to be self-motivated and self-directed
  • Assigns tasks but abdicates responsibility


Manages the allocated resources to produce optimum bottom-line results; works to understand and control the key factors that influence profit production; balances the priorities and skills of self and others to generate profitable results; won’t become distracted by issues that don’t influence the bottom-line; protects the interests of investors, employees, customers, and others who depend upon the success and survival of the company as a result of its ability to generate profits


  • Sees primary role as generating profit for the business
  • Entrepreneurial with a bottom-line versus administrative orientation
  • Has a realistic grasp of the financial aspects of the organization, shows responsiveness to the need for economies and cost control, and is able to draw meaningful implications from financial data
  • Places other business concerns as secondary to profit generation
  • Focuses on approaches and techniques designed to increase production or decrease costs, enhancing overall organizational profitability
  • Has little time or patience for ideas or programs that do not impact the bottom line


  • Does not become distracted by or waste time on trivial problems, unnecessary paperwork, or personality issues that don't affect profitable results
  • Sees the big picture beyond departmental or single function concerns that on their own will not positively impact overall profitability
  • Does not see the production of profit as the organization’s primary objective
  • Focuses on accomplishing process steps and administrative tasks to tie up loose ends and deal with immediate demands regardless of their overall impact on the bottom-line
  • Cannot find the time or justify the effort to establish and review financial controls
  • Bases evaluations of an outcome on the effort extended or the elegance of the result rather than the profitability of the result
  • Has a strong concern for personality issues and having people feel good about their results as the true measure of success
  • Does not consistently implement steps to monitor key financial or customer data that can potentially impact bottom-line profitability
  • Becomes distracted from the primary goal of corporate profitability by ‘squeaky wheel’ situations or single function demands that offer a short-term appearance of increased efficiency or reduced costs


Demonstrates a willingness to take action on problems or opportunities without prompting; possesses the intrinsic desire and willingness to push toward achieving a desired goal or end-state without suggestion from others; prepares alternatives so the outcome is not jeopardized by unexpected barriers; exhibits the desire to blaze new trails as a means to an end


  • Champions new initiatives and identifies opportunities or issues requiring change without prompting
  • When barriers to goal accomplishment are encountered, is willing to introduce and implement a solution throughout his sphere of influence
  • Is willing to take the lead, even if others don’t initially understand or approve
  • Focuses effort and resources on initiatives or solutions that will positively contribute to the desired result; does not simply try to ‘build a better mousetrap’
  • Changes the present status in order to improve the position of the group or organization in meeting its objectives
  • Installs targeted, selective changes that provide real added value to the organization
  • More than simply overcoming a negative or preventing a loss, the solutions or changes he initiates leave the job (task, project) with something gained


  • Is uncomfortable developing a solution to a problem or trying a different approach without positive directives from a higher authority
  • Hesitates to push own ideas or drive new goals
  • May be too willing to leave well enough alone and conforms to established rules and principles
  • Uncomfortable pushing beyond easy or traditional responses to creative or original thinking
  • Tends to wait patiently for situations to settle over time or to correct themselves in a more natural fashion


Focuses on sharing information in an exciting and memorable manner; prefers group presentations; focuses equally on preparing delivery and content; stages a formal presentation to promote a more intangible product or service; responds to audience cues and reactions by altering a prepared presentation as it progresses


  • Customizes the program to the audience, using minimal boilerplate components
  • Takes the time to prepare a studied presentation, injecting into the content and delivery the cues and jargon with which the audience can identify
  • Is sensitive to audience feedback and adjusts the presentation to sustain their interest
  • Creates a memorable stage presence
  • Enjoys applause and attention when successful


  • Prefers to share information in a more spontaneous and off-the-cuff manner
  • Does not prepare a presentation with the audience in mind, but starts with a standard framework and makes cursory adjustments
  • Without the structure of a prepared presentation, he may fail to incorporate key components into the presentation or respond effectively to audience reactions


Uses his time to produce tangible results; judges effectiveness by the quantity of what has been accomplished in a given time frame; derives personal satisfaction from accomplishing measurable outputs


  • Focuses on the quantitative measure of results produced, whether engaged in a repetitious, singular activity or frequently changing and diverse tasks
  • Gains personal satisfaction from producing tangible results
  • Judges his effectiveness by how much he accomplishes in a given timeframe
  • Establishes concrete dimensions and steps that can become quantifiable measures of his progress


  • Can too easily lose interest in results-oriented activities in favor of more satisfying opportunities offered in the arenas of personal relationships or influence and power
  • May judge his effectiveness in task achievement using standards of quality, creativity, or efficiency rather than measure accomplishment by the sheer quantity or volume produced
  • Tends to be rather casual or informal about tracking progress in results achievement and is comfortable with variable output levels


Absorbs new information quickly and is comfortable dealing with abstract concepts and relationships; relates new information to previously acquired knowledge to expand and refine his frame of reference; enjoys learning and expanding the breadth and depth of his understanding on a variety of subjects


  • Enjoys learning and broadening his depth of learning and insight in a wide array of topics
  • Absorbs, stores and recalls new information quickly
  • Deals comfortably with abstract concepts and relationships
  • Pursues academic, theoretical or research-based information


  • Needs repetition to process new information and requires additional time to integrate it into his repertoire
  • Prefers concrete tasks
  • Learns best through one-on-one instruction and improves his base skill level through experience and hard work
  • Uses practice opportunities or trial runs to become completely knowledgeable of and comfortable with methods or techniques he needs to use


Systematically applies a combination of inductive and deductive reasoning to arrive at a well-founded, logical conclusion; remains objective in analyzing information and data so as not to make false assumptions or reach judgments without full knowledge and information; recognizes and neutralizes personal biases that can influence his thought process; effectively weighs the accuracy of different types of information in order to define a problem and reach a valid conclusion


  • Possesses strong deductive reasoning skills and is capable of thinking through problems in a systematic and logical manner
  • Draws sound conclusions from the information presented
  • Effectively weighs the accuracy of different types of information, including inferences, abstractions, or generalizations
  • Maintains a detached/objective demeanor in the gathering and analysis of information


  • Allows biases to prevent him from seeing all sides of an issue and influence his perception
  • Quickly draws conclusions or makes assumptions without full knowledge and information
  • Makes decisions according to clearly defined rules and depends upon an existing frame of reference in unfamiliar situations
  • A penchant for action versus analysis leads him to move forward with minimal review of critical input or weighing of alternatives
  • Relies on previously acquired information and like-minded people for input into decisions

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