I have long believed that the true “rock stars” of the selling world don’t need to be told how many calls a week to complete nor how many appointments they are required to set. So why should they need a manager at all?
“Rock Stars” DO need managers just not the same STYLE of management that is typically required by other sales professionals on their team. I think everyone would agree that LeBron James, Peyton Manning, and Tiger Woods all qualify as “Rock Stars” in their respective sports. They each have something in common and that something is that they each have coaches. In the ultra competitive world of elite sports even the smallest of tweaks in your technique can have huge payoffs and business is the same way. The finer the points of differentiation become the more each small advantage becomes magnified in its impact.
All too frequently I see companies and individual managers managing their star sales performers in exactly the same way they manage sales performers who are consistently struggling to “make the numbers” or, in some cases, just not managing them at all. In one extreme it is too much direction and in the other extreme it is leaving their stars alone with the caveat of “call me if you need me.”.
Both approaches are wrong! A manager’s role should evolve from a more directive approach into a more supportive role as performance and experience dictate. With a sales “Rock Star” the role of the manager is much more that of a mentor than the more directive approach required by the less experienced or less productive seller.
The importance of coaching is high through all phases of development but the style and focus of the coaching evolves along with the sales professional. Skill demonstration or modeling of skills is critical at the less productive end of the continuum while expert observation and feedback are the more appropriate tools for the more productive sales professionals.
The point? Don’t ignore or fail to manage your “rock star” sales professionals or you might wake up one Monday morning to find they are someone else’s “rock stars”.