Someone in the fantastic Modern Sales Pros asked about good sales management books and I am compelled to share my answer below:
Sales Management has changed dramatically over the decades in two areas:
1) Being data driven, as enabled by the tools that we use now. The current and emerging generation of tools is automatically ingesting the key data points needed for machine learning engines to consume and interpret the context and make recommendations about the next best thing to do.
When I started, a manager would coach on: – Which accounts to prioritize- What messaging to approach with- Who specifically to target- What should be done, by whom and when.
Today, we are very close to software answering all these questions for us. Within the next 2 years the majority of you will have tools that analyze the TAM, tell your reps which accounts have the highest propensity to buy through firmagraphic insight and propensity to buy intent signals. All interactions will be automagically captured, the buying panel will be auto-recognized as the attend zoom meetings etc and then the tech will drive you reps to next best action. This is the future.
So if this is all happening, what they heck do you do?
2) Emotional Intelligence and mindful leadership: This is the area that software can never replace. Our ability for us to:- intuit the intrinsic drivers for every rep and motivate against that.- coach a rep at their level of development and distinguish between different individuals- manage emotions- internally influence within the broader org to secure the outcomes needed for our people to be successful.- be inclusive and provide an environment where a diverse team can be equally successful…..and so on.
So, my point is – (1) is fast becoming a commodity. (2) Will always be a work in progress as we learn more about humans and for each of us, it is a journey… There is always more work to be done. If I were you, I would be reading books focused on (2) and they usually don’t have ‘sales management’ in the title.