CHAPTER 14 LEADING THE SALES TEAM
LEARNING OBJECTIVES The leader of a sales force must have a firm grasp of his or her power and of the leadership behaviors from which to choose. This chapter should help you understand: • That leadership is an influence process. • The many sources of a leader’s power and their differences. • The many facets involved in an integrative sales manger’s model of leadership. • That supervision, coaching, and counseling are important leadership activities.
THE NATURE OF LEADERSHIP Leadership is the ability to influence other people toward the attainment of objectives.
LEADERS VERSUS MANAGERS Management is the attainment of organizational goals in an effective and efficient manner through: • Planning • Organizing • Staffing • Directing • Controlling organizational resources
A sales manager is a person whose job is the management of sales resources – people and budgets. Leading is part of the manager’s directing function.
FIGURE 14.1 THE SALES MANAGER’S BEHAVIOR IS AN IMPORTANT INFLUENCE ON THE SALESPERSON’S DECISION ON HOW MUCH EFFORT TO PUT INTO THE JOB
AN INTEGRATIVE SALES MANAGER’S MODEL OF LEADERSHIP Six factors are important for the attainment of acceptable performance levels: • 1. The sales manager. • 2. The sales manager’s behavior and activities. • 3. The salesperson.
Six factors are important for the attainment of acceptable performance levels: continued • 4. The sales group. • 5. The situation. • 6. The salesperson’s behavior.
Sales Manager • Personal Characteristics • Needs and Motives • Power • Past Experience and • Reinforcement Salesperson • Personal Characteristics • Needs and Motives • Performance Level Sales Manager's Behavior Salesperson’s • Past Experience and Activities Behavior • Tells • Supervision • Performance Influence • Persuades • Coaching • Satisfaction • Participates • Counseling Sales Group • Turnover • Delegates • Characteristics • Expectations • Norms • Sales Culture Situation • The Task Being Faced • Organizational Factors • Problem Faced • Time Pressures FIGURE 14.2 A SITUATIONAL MODEL OF LEADERSHIP FOR SALES PERSONNEL
THE SALES MANAGER PERSONALITY CHARACTERISTICS NEEDS AND MOTIVES POWER PAST EXPERIENCE AND REINFORCEMENT
Legitimate power comes from a formal management position in an organization and the authority granted to that position.
Reward power stems from the leader’s authority to bestow rewards on other people.
Coercive power is the opposite of reward power: it is the leader’s authority to punish or recommend punishment.
Expert power is the result of a leader’s special knowledge or skill regarding the tasks followers perform.
Referent power comes from the leader’s personality characteristics that command followers’ identification, respect, and admiration, so they wish to emulate the leader.
THE SALES MANAGER’S BEHAVIOR AND ACTIVITIES The sales manager’s personality characteristics, needs and motives, power, and past experiences have a direct influence on the person’s natural leadership style. Natural refers to how the person really would prefer to behave toward a salesperson.
BEHAVIOR INFLUENCES SALESPEOPLE A leader exhibits task behavior when describing the duties and responsibilities of an individual or group. Relationship behavior is the extent to which the leader uses two-way communication, not the one-way communication of task behavior.
FIGURE 14.3 FOUR BASIC LEADERSHIP STYLES THAT INFLUENCE SALESPEOPLE
Style 1: Tells Above-average levels of task behavior and below-average levels of relationship behavior.
Style 2: Persuades Above-average amounts of both task and relationship behavior.
Style 3: Participates Above-average levels of relationship behavior and below-average levels of task behavior.
Style 4: Delegates Below-average levels of both task behavior and relationship behavior.
FIGURE 14.4 THE LEADERSHIP STYLES IN TERMS OF TASK AND RELATIONSHIP BEHAVIOR
ACTIVITIES INFLUENCE SALESPEOPLE • The Supervision Activity • Supervision refers to the actual overseeing and directing of the day-to-day activities of salespeople. • The Coaching Activity • Coaching refers to intensively training someone on the job through instruction, demonstration, and practice. • The Counseling Activity • Counseling helps a person become a better-adjusted human being within the work environment.
Indirect Supervisory Methods • Call reports • Expense reports • Compensation • Sales analysis reports
Direct Supervisory Methods • The telephone or e-mail • Sales meetings • Work withs
During work withs, the manager meets with each person in his or her sales territory for reasons such as: • Troubleshooting. • Joining the sales pro in a team effort. • Breaking in a new salesperson. • Training a seasoned sales pro to sell a new product. • Introducing a seasoned sales pro to a new territory.
Presession Analysis and Planning • 1. Review records • Background • Objective • The session itself • Developmental action • Follow up • 2. Notify salespeople • 3. Schedule calls • 4. Set length of coaching session • 5. Prepare coaching checklist • 6. Set the mood
The Joint Sales Call • Choosing an objective for the call. • Selecting the major appeal to help achieve the objective. • Analyzing the prospect’s needs. • Determining the most attractive benefits. • Anticipating objections. • Deciding on closing tactics.
The manager must make two decisions: • The manager’s role for the sales call. • How best to observe the salesperson in action.
Postcall Discussions Curbstone conferences, usually held in the car, are brief post-call discussions about what has just occurred in the customer’s place of business.
Summary and Critique • Define the sales rep’s problems or opportunities for development. • Outline the action you expect to be taken to overcome the problem or to take advantage of opportunities. • Set up a time schedule, where applicable, for taking corrective action you suggest. • State the results you expect to be achieved.
Some Counseling Principles The purpose of counseling is not merely to deal with the immediate problem but also to help the employee learn methods for coping with future difficulties.
Three Categories of Problems • Those that fall within a manager’s competence and responsibility. • Those that are beyond a manager’s ability to handle, such as alcoholism, drugs, and deep, prolonged depression. • Those in which a manager is not sure whether he or she is going to far.
Possible Counseling Approaches • To the negative end of the continuum: • Threatening • Exhortation • Lecturing • Next on the continuum: • Reassurance • Advice giving or suggestions • Social reinforcement
Possible Counseling Approaches continued • To the positive end of the continuum: • Directive guidance • Problem solving • Nondirective guidance
Types of Counseling: • Performance counseling • Career counseling. • Job adjustment counseling • Social adjustment counseling • Personal adjustment counseling
THE SALESPERSON PERSONALITY CHARACTERISTICS • NEEDS AND MOTIVES • PERFORMANCE LEVEL • Ability • Motivation • PAST EXPERIENCE
TABLE 14.2 GUIDELINES TO CONSIDER WHEN SELECTING A LEADERSHIP STYLE BASED ON PERFORMANCE LEVEL
Common needs of experienced salespeople: • To be treated equally. • Help with performance problems. • Help overcoming the “greener grass” syndrome.
THE SALES GROUP CHARACTERISTICS • They have the ability to deal with the sales situation. • They are interested in the situation. • They have a relatively high need for independence.
CHARACTERISTICS continued • They have a relatively high tolerance for ambiguity in the job. • Past experience indicates they can do a good job. • They expect to participate in decision making.
EXPECTATIONS • Help them be successful. • Hire competent coworkers. • Provide adequate training, including conducting effective sales meetings. • Set responsible performance standards. • Provide feedback on how they are doing. • Give rewards based on performance.
NORMS Norms are the standards the group establishes.
SALES CULTURE • Descriptions for a leader: • Enthusiastic • Cheerleader • Creator of champions • Coach • A professional
TABLE 14.3 THE MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS FOR BUILDING A SALES CULTURE
THE SITUATION The situation itself can influence the sales manager’s behavior and effectiveness. Four factors that influence the leader’s effectiveness are: • The task faced. • The organizational factors • The problem faced. • The time pressures.
THE BOTTOM LINE As one of the most important elements affecting sales force performance, leadership is defined as a process by which one individual attempts to influence the activities of others on matters of importance in a given situation. Power is a tool sales managers use to influence the sales force. The choice of leadership behaviors to use depends on the relationships involved in the integrative leadership model. The sales manager’s behavior is based on that individual’s personality, needs and motives, power, and past experience.