Sales Manger job descriptions – do you get what you ask for vs. what you want?

I had the opportunity to see a job posting of a sales manager job the other day. It was an interesting thing to read (for me especially as I NEVER want that job… again – which is my disclaimer if any of that feeling seeps into the post).

It got me thinking about my frustration when sales managers talk with salespeople about behaviors & daily activity – yet don’t go into the results. Why? Well the second bullet point on the job description was Know Your Forecast.

I’m sure the person writing the description had something completely different in mind from a both a reason & results perspective:

  • understand where in the qualification process your team’s largest business opportunities are AND help the salesperson create a plan to move forward TOWARD winning the deal.
  • know which customers in each salesperson’s account base are likely to produce significant business this year.
  • help identify customers in each salesperson’s account base will be ‘off’ the mark from the previous year and why.
  • be aware of where your team’s cumulative estimate falls vs. your team target for the month… quarter… year (as I write that I realize most organizations I work with ONLY do this calculation for the current month – some are out for the quarter – no one does this for the year. If you resemble that remark please read chapter 1 in Debbie Mrazek’s Field Guide to Sales).

All of this may sound ridiculous.. of course that is what they mean Know Your Forecast was a short hand way of saying all that.

Except I know some sales managers who email their team asking for a ‘high’, ‘low’, and ‘gut’ number each week to plug into the forecast they have to send to their boss. Do they Know Your Forecast sure, but they certainly don’t know the rest of it.

If you’re writing a job description please tell them what is REALLY important, the why behind the bullet points, when you are in the interview. Then carry that forward into all your conversations AND their performance evaluations.

Otherwise you’re probably getting exactly what you asked for – not what you wanted.


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