The 10 Commandments for Sales Managers

News Report: Archeologists digging through the corporate archives at a major Fortune 500 company recently uncovered a set of two stone tablets. Here is a rough translation of their contents:

  1. Thou shalt not start thy team meeting with criticism. Though thy staff be full of mooncalves and malingerers, starting with a tirade will only create resentment, dark looks, and b***h sessions at the local tavern.
  2. Thou shalt not treat every deal as equally important. How often hast thou decreed that thy team must prioritize? Follow thou then thy own advice, and stop focusing on deals that wilt not add many shekels to thy corporate coffer.
  3. Thou shalt not drill down into every detail of the deal. Verily a sales manager must understand the workings of a crucial deal. Even so, delving into painful detail shows a pitiable lack faith and, worse, wilt make THEE responsible for the outcome.
  4. Thou shalt not ask the same questions. Curiosity is an admirable trait in a sales manager, but once thou hast had the answer to thy question, ask it not again, as if thou didst not already have that answer.
  5. Thou shalt not be unprepared for a meeting. Hast thou not paid a vast treasure for a CRM system? And didst thou not decree that everyone shall use it? Why, then, dost thou refuse to use it thyself and discover what has changed since the last sales meeting?
  6. Thou shalt not forecast based on hunches. Verily thou hast seen it all before and probably hath a good idea how things are likely to turn out. Even so, thou art not a fortune-teller, so put away thy crystal ball and look at the real data.
  7. Thou shalt not let a sales meeting run on and on. Before each meeting send out a decree entitled “agenda”, with a set amount of time to deal with each issue. Then adhere to thy own decree as if the productivity of the entire team depended on it. For verily it doth.
  8. Thou shalt not tell personal anecdotes. Howsoevermuch thou might wish to share the sales wisdom thou hast garnished over the years, thy stories of the olden days are, to thy minions, as annoying as nails drawn across a schoolboy’s slate.
  9. Thou shalt not criticize one rep in front of another. Tempting as it may be to foist the sins of the team upon a handy scapegoat, holding up one team member for criticism will make everyone else think thou art like unto the hindquarters of Balaam’s ass.
  10. Thou shalt not take credit for the team’s success. Thou must never forget that thou art the sales manager and must therefore take all the blame when things go wrong, but none of the credit when things go right. So it has always been, and so it must always be, forever and ever. Amen.

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