Mike and Mark,

I love your podcasts.  I've been listening for about a year and it has increased my effectiveness and confidence as a manager.

Do you have any specific podcasts on sales management?  It seems that most of your experience is in the operations of an organization but I'd love to get your input on what I need to be thinking about/doing as a manager of salespeople, and what aspects of that are different than, say, a project manager.  There is much more uncertainty around sales.  

My business is solar construction so there is a very long sales cycle (6-18 months).  I want to shorten the sales cycle.  I've read a lot on being a sales person, but don't find a lot on managing salespeople.  I would love a few podcasts on that.



hudsonml's picture


As an engineer that’s currently leading a sales organization spanning three states in the Midwest, your post caught my attention. 

If I'm reading your question right (a big "if" to be sure), it seems to me that you're trying to mix apples & oranges. Organizations - ALL organizations - are made up of people, and the MT trinity speaks to the manager's roles & responsibility to derive the best from their directs (people) for the benefit of the organization.  

Whether you're looking at a sales process, a business cycle, or a short/long-term project (such as IT or engineering), if you as the manager don't bring the business-specific expertise to the table when you meet with your team (I find that I'm NEVER the smartest guy in the room!), that's where one-on-ones, feedback, etc. can be most effective in developing solutions to meet your needs - as a manager and a company. 

I've been listening to Mike & Mark for a few years now, and one thing that sticks out more than anything else is their point that the MOST IMPORTANT thing you'll ever do as a manager is hire someone. Get it right and you’ll gain a greater handle on the level of uncertainty you’re experiencing in sales. Get it wrong (and compound the mistake by not following the MT trinity), and it won’t matter what type of business you’re in, you’ll expend a lot of energy trying to make up lost ground. 

If you have a sales team, do they have a clear idea on what you want to accomplish? That gets to the people – relationships - communication part that Mark talks about, and the part I have found requires the lion’s share of my attention. 

Good luck,
Mike Hudson

hudsonml's picture

Sorry: the last was from Mike Hudson (not "THE" Mike)!

GlennR's picture

If you're into reading, Frank Pacetta, a top Xerox sales manager, wrote, "Don't Fire Them, Fire Them Up!. Because he talks specifically about sales teams, you might find the book useful. However, on the downside, it was written in 1994, so you won't find references to emails or GTD. You might want to check out the reviews to see if it's something that would be relevant to you. On the other hand, you can buy one for $3, so it's pretty inexpensive.

I do agree with one of the reviewers that it makes some points that have been made before, but I think you'll find others that are worthy. I remember reading the book, enjoying it, and recommending it to others.

CV's picture


Thanks for the feedback.  The specific questions I have are:

1. What information should I be looking at on a weekly basis.  Are there examples of super effective reports you've seen to track sales progress week to week?  (This is a big one for me.)

2. What are the main (real) reasons for losing a sale and how would we find them?

3. What reasonable progress should I expect out of my directs on a weekly basis when the sales cycle is so long and they are digging up their own leads?  Examples would be good here.  For us, we get some prospects who have never looked into solar before.  Some prospects who are actively bidding a project. And some prospects who are developers who had created a project, and they are looking to sell it to use.  Each is a different sales process but we still want to capture and report up significant data.

4. What's the big picture I need to be thinking about?

5. Are there any regular things I need to be doing other than the management trinity?  I currently do O3s with all key staff, give feedback as necessary, delegate (starting to anyways), receive 1 page slides each week that reports on successes/failures/needs/long term goals, and host a weekly meeting where the team does a 2 minutes update from their slides.  I'm concerned there is something else I should be doing that's critical to my success as a "sales" manager since so much of what happens with prospects is unpredictable.

6. How do you give feedback to a direct when the sales cycle is so long and most are going to not even be base hits.




hudsonml's picture


I spend a lot of time on the road travelling to field offices (my time to listen to MT).  Another podcast I've found very helpful - especially when talking sales issues to my team (coaching, etc.) is "The Advanced Selling Podcast" found in iTunes or here:

I also have a network of peers and mentors that I rely on heavily for my own growth and development.

Good luck,

Mike H.