How Sales Management Can Hurt Sales

There’s a sales management philosophy in too many companies that is actually working against sales growth. And the salespeople know it. The philosophy goes like this:

  • Walk in 40 doors a day.
  • Make 40 calls a day.
  • Hand your business card to everyone.
  • Gather as many business cards as you can.
  • Sell, sell, sell.

While this is a lot of activity and can look good on a sales report, it isn’t usually productive. And it shifts the goal from getting business to participating in a specific behavior.

This usually happens because the owner or sales manager found great success using these methods. That’s great for them! But it doesn’t mean everyone is going to be successful doing it that way.

sIn addition, today’s business environment doesn’t really offer a welcoming landscape for this kind of behavior. The consumers are very well educated and are really looking for someone they trust. The salesperson is better off working on relationship building rather than tallying the number of doors knocked.

Many companies with this philosophy have a lot of turnover in the sales department. And do you know why? Because people join the company with the best of intentions and in many cases a great method for gaining sales. When they discover that they can’t implement their method, but rather have to engage in behavior that doesn’t work for them, they don’t hit their sales goals. So, they leave — either voluntarily or by request.

Either way, it’s not good for the company. The cost alone of bringing on a new employee is significant. Think about it. You’ve got to run ads, sift through resumes, interview, hire, onboard, train, and then exit. Go ahead and put dollar values on each of those items, then add them up. Now include the lack of sales into the cost. All the business you didn’t do! It’s an expensive proposition.

Building Confidence

Another key concern is the image that develops of the company in the community. Think about things from the prospect or client’s point of view. If, every time they turn around there’s a new salesperson introducing themselves, you’re telegraphing instability within your company. Is that really the message you are trying to send? Customers want confidence that the salesperson they’ve grown to trust will be there for more than a hot minute. If they keep seeing new salespeople, their trust goes down. That’s never good.

So, I ask you, which is more important?

  1. Engaging in a specific activity
  2. Gaining new clients

I’d say No. 2. And if that really is more important, then it doesn’t matter how it is done — as long as it is moral, legal, and ethical.

Sales managers would be better off sharing the vision and the goals of the company with their sales staff while leaving the sales strategy to each salesperson. Empower the sales team to develop their own process and then monitor their results. Give them the resources they need to be successful. Be there for them when they need advice, or training. And communicate with them on a regular basis about their results. As long as the results are there, the process shouldn’t matter.

Think about why you hire someone. Is it because you believe they have the skills and personality necessary to succeed at sales? Probably. And if so, don’t you owe it to them to trust them to do the job? Whenever we tell someone how to do something, we’re really saying that we don’t trust them to do it right. There’s a confidence killer!

It’s like hiring someone for their great attitude and then squashing that attitude. Makes no sense. Respecting the sales staff means talking with them, not at them. It means listening to what they have to say, respecting their ability, and expecting them to deliver. Period. The best way to disrespect the sales staff is to tell them to do things your way. Then you are telling them that you don’t trust them to do it right, or well, or successfully. Believe me when I tell you, you won’t get what you are wanting if you engage in this sort of “management.” Instead, lead your team. Help them be the best they can be.

After all, sales is about relationships, not dialing for dollars. Let your salespeople network and develop relationships with referral partners, prospects, and clients. Their time will be better spent, the results will be there, and everyone will be happier. If one of the salespeople decides to make 40 calls a day, great! That is their preferred method. It should be more important to make sure your salespeople have a strategy that makes sense to them than to have a strategy that only makes sense to the sales manager.

Harris Williams & Co. Sells Harvey Industries to Dunes Point Capital

Harris Williams & Co., a preeminent middle market investment bank focused on the advisory needs of clients worldwide, announces the sale of Harvey Industries Inc., doing business as Harvey Building Products (Harvey), to Dunes Point Capital (DPC). Harvey is a manufacturer and distributor of premium windows, as well as a wholesale distributor of a broad range of high-quality exterior building products. Management as well as members of the Bigony and Morrison families will continue to be meaningful investors in the business. The transaction was led by Mike Hogan, Ryan Nelson and Trey Packard of Harris Williams & Co.’s Building Products Group and Jay Hernandez and Brandt Carr of the firm’s Industrials Group.

“Since its founding by the Bigony and Morrison families, Harvey has become an independent building products distributor and manufacturer in the Northeast with a well-recognized and valuable brand name,” says Mike Hogan, a managing director in Harris Williams & Co.’s Building Products Group. “The sale of Harvey is indicative of the continued strong interest from private equity groups and strategic buyers in the building products sector.”

“It has been a pleasure working with both families and the company’s management team,” adds Jay Hernandez, a director at Harris Williams & Co. “We are excited to see the company, with the support of its new partner, build on its market position and continue its strong track record of growth.”

Founded in 1961 and headquartered in Waltham, Mass., Harvey is a vertically-integrated manufacturer of windows, doors and porch enclosures and a full-line distributor of wholesale exterior building products. Serving customers directly in the Northeast, the company has approximately 1,500 employees and operates two manufacturing facilities, 33 warehouse locations and 13 product showrooms.

Founded in 2013, DPC is a family office and private investment firm pursuing control investments in companies operating in the general industrial and energy sectors. Headquartered in Rye, N.Y., DPC targets companies with enterprise values of up to $500 million.

Harris Williams & Co., a member of The PNC Financial Services Group Inc., is a preeminent middle market investment bank focused on the advisory needs of clients worldwide. The firm has deep industry knowledge, global transaction expertise, and an unwavering commitment to excellence. Harris Williams & Co. provides sell-side and acquisition advisory, restructuring advisory, board advisory, private placements and capital markets advisory services.

Harris Williams & Co.’s Building Products & Materials Group has closed more than 75 transactions across a broad range of sectors, including production, distribution and services related to building materials, commercial and residential construction; infrastructure and public facilities; repair and remodeling; cabinetry, windows, and doors; flooring and tiles; roofing and siding; HVAC, electrical and plumbing; aggregates; asphalt; ready-mix concrete; cement; and engineering and construction services. For more information on the firm’s Building Products & Materials Group, visit the Building Products & Materials Group’s section of the Harris Williams & Co. website.

Harris Williams & Co.’s Industrials Group has experience across a variety of sectors, including advanced manufacturing; aggregates, metals, and mining; chemicals and specialty materials; industrial technology; and packaging. For more information on the firm’s Industrials Group and other recent transactions, visit the Industrials Group’s section of the Harris Williams & Co. website.

Investment banking services are provided by Harris Williams LLC, a registered broker-dealer and member of FINRA and SIPC, and Harris Williams & Co. Ltd, which is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Harris Williams & Co. is a trade name under which Harris Williams LLC and Harris Williams & Co. Ltd conduct business.