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SALES LEADERSHIP: The Four Quadrants


Do you ever feel like there just aren't enough hours in the day?  Is it a struggle to find time to manage, coach, train, and mentor your sales team? 

You're not alone.  Time management is a big challenge for many sales managers.   The first two steps in effectively managing your time as a sales manager are:

  • Recognizing all the different roles you play as a sales manager
  • Recognizing all the different types of sales people you are working with 

As a sales manager, you wear a minimum of four hats. Each one has its own separate goals, and it's important to understand the distinction each one has from the other. Once you do that, it will be easier to organize your time for each "hat". On the surface, each hat may seem to be very similar. But each has its own set of goals, and should be approached in a different way:

As a Teacher, you are the expert in your field.  Your goal is to train your sales reps, help them to overcome any obstacles, and ensure they have the tools they need to do their job successfully. 

As a Coach, your time is spent developing and motivating your team, supporting their efforts and encouraging practice. 

As a Mentor, you become the trusted advisor to your sales reps, the role model, and their inspiration.  You lead by example as a mentor. 

As a Manager, you are responsible for holding your team accountable, creating strategic vision, helping them to set goals, managing ROI, and evaluating your team.  

So, how do you wear each of these very different hats with all of your reps?   Just as we train reps to approach each account based on their specific needs, you have to do the same thing.  Your approach has to be customized to each rep and customized based on your goals. 

Too further examine how to customize your approach to each rep, we'll need to classify the four kinds of reps:

  • the new rep
  • the underperformer
  • the rep that's meeting expectations
  • the superstar  

The new rep is the newly hired, still-in-orientation rep.  They're learning their way around, learning to sell the benefit, learning the sales process.  They're in learning and practicing mode.  First and foremost, you need to be a teacher, and train these reps.

The underperformer is the rep that that's not meeting expectations.  Their productivity numbers are down, their call volume is down, and they're struggling.  This rep needs support, so first and foremost they need to be coached. After they've been coached, they need to be held accountable.

The rep that is meeting expectations is producing, but they're not a shining star.  On a scale of 1-5, this rep is a 3 or 4.  They meet their call requirements, they meet their goals, and they don't take up a lot of your time.  This rep tends to be easy to manage, yet this rep also has the most potential to be a superstar.  Unfortunately, many managers don't spend the time coaching and mentoring this rep to get them to that next level.

The superstar is the role model.   This rep usually takes little time to manage.  They are self-motivated, and always exceed their goals.  This rep needs to be mentored.  Without proper mentoring, the risk of losing this rep is high.  They don't usually get a lot of attention because they're not creating problems.

As you can see, each of these reps requires wearing different hats on your part.  We call this the Sales Manager Quadrant.   The Sales Manager Quadrant places your roles as a sales manager on the quadrant, and overlays the types of rep on top.