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Sales meetings

I have worked for a small medical device manufacturer for about 4 years. When I was hired, there were only two of us doing the sales, myself and my sales manager. My manager left about a year ago and I was promoted to sales manager while a new position was created Director of Global Sales and Marketing. So a new person was hired who has NO sales background whatsoever, only marketing.

Recently (about a month ago) She decided that she needs to know what's going on so she wants to meet daily and wants a daily report listing all the calls I've made. Nevermind that we never review her accounts.

In the 10 years I've been doing sales I have never ever had to meet daily and offer this micro level of accountability. Has anyone ever heard of this?

What's worse is that I resent this because I am not allowed to do my job as a Sales manager (she's doing it for me) she's treating me like a rookie sales rep with 0 years of experience, and this wastes so much of my time that my sales output suffers.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. - by Andrea
I wouldn't like that much either. What does she plan to do with the information you give her? - by Slick
Honestly I dont' know why she needs to micromanage this. I'm ok with weekly reporting and meetings but not daily thmbdn2;
When she set this up she said she wanted to do it because she wanted me to be accountable for my time, and the daily report was to ensure we reach our sales targets.

Seems to me like she has no confidence in my ability to do my job. I haven't addressed this with her yet but I'm going to have to. I tried to just ignore it, be open minded and see if there could be any benefit from these meetings but it's not working. It is a daily distraction that I have to take time off sales so that I can ease someone else's opinion that I'm not doing my job. - by Andrea
Don't ignore the request as this might appear as insubordination. Instead ask the question: "Here is my daily schedule. It's pretty full of important activities. I'm happy to meet with you, so which activity do you want me to cancel so we can meet together?" Suddenly the responsibility for altering your day falls back on her. My experience has been that most managers don't want to make those decisions. In essense you are stating: "I can sell or I can meet with you...what do you want me to do?" - by SpeakerTeacher
I'm sorry, I think you misunderstood. I wasn't ignorning the request, I tried to ignore the feeling that she is not confident in my abilities. I just wanted to focus on the sales.

I did try that tactic you sugested. She thinks that half an our out of my day is not too much to ask for if I have the rest of the day to do sales. That report takes about 20 minutes out of my day which is why I'm reluctant to do it on a daily basis.

She said she wants to know what's "going on" I told her she knows what is going on, it actually doesn't change much from day to day. She is driving me up the wall... - by Andrea
I'm sorry, I think you misunderstood. I wasn't ignorning the request, I tried to ignore the feeling that she is not confident in my abilities. I just wanted to focus on the sales.

I did try that tactic you sugested. She thinks that half an our out of my day is not too much to ask for if I have the rest of the day to do sales. That report takes about 20 minutes out of my day which is why I'm reluctant to do it on a daily basis.

She said she wants to know what's "going on" I told her she knows what is going on, it actually doesn't change much from day to day. She is driving me up the wall...
Andrea, it would drive me up a wall, too.

What if you gave her exactly what she wanted for two months without any hesitation or frustration whatsoever. Then, after two months, you sat down with her and ask this question:

"What can I do to help you raise your level of confidence in me so that by the end of this month you no longer find it important for me to do my daily reports? The reason I ask is because, if at all possible, I think it's important for me to focus my time and energies on helping my people generate the type of revenue we both want. What can I do now so you would be comfortable making that change by the end of this month?"

Thoughts? - by Skip Anderson
Andrea, I've lived this situation (in the early days of Apple Computer) and can tell you that it is an extremely sensitive environment which you described:
1. you have been successful in your role; and,
2. a Director-level mandate has been introduced to which you report (the mandate is a stretch for the individual as she has only been in marketing); and,
3. manual daily reporting has been layered on top of your existing activities;

The only insight not provided: is the Director role truly "global"; are their other SM's reporting to her and have they been requested to supply the same daily reports?

You must understand the following dynamics:
1. it's a small company which is growing up; so,
2. it's entirely appropriate for management to want a view of what's transpiring in the field; and,
3. someone in senior management promoted her into this role and will, in all likelihood, support her if you go over her head;

With this in mind, I'd suggest that you request a formal meeting to discuss the following points in detail:
1. the frequency of the report (is the small medical device industry so transaction-oriented that daily reporting is necessary);
2. the amount of detail required (is there something specific which would suffice);
3. the actual amount of time required to prepare the report;
4. the manual nature of the report;
5. what happens with the data which is captured;

Throughout the meeting you MUST remain focused, professional, and clinically UNemotional. Support all statements with facts (documentation if available). Whatever the outcome of the meeting, follow-up with a factual recount of the bullets in an email. You might want to copy senior managment and HR (if you believe this is required).

#'s 4&5 imply the need for CRM software for the company. The manual nature of the reports implies unnecessary work for all involved and limits what can be done with the information once captured.

You can research CRM features/benefits here at SalesPractice.com but what you'll find is the following benefits for your company:
1. with NO extra effort, senior managment will come in every morning to a current dashboard on where the company stands as of close of business (even global companies); and,
2. with NO extra effort, mid-level management will have access to any level of activity desired; and,
3. field SM's will be provided with trends which will diminish "knee-jerk" reactions to looming performance issues; and,
4. SR's will be able to effectively run their own communications campaigns (because CRM ties the customer database into email); and,
5. BONUS: the company gets to secure its asset ... the customer data base!

Andrea, this is classic of the maturation process of a small company and it's worth the effort to work through the perceived pain which you're experiencing. In fact, done properly, it reeks of opportunity for you ...

Good luck & Good selling!
Pat - by OUTSource Sales
I have worked for a small medical device manufacturer for about 4 years. When I was hired, there were only two of us doing the sales, myself and my sales manager. My manager left about a year ago and I was promoted to sales manager while a new position was created Director of Global Sales and Marketing. So a new person was hired who has NO sales background whatsoever, only marketing.

Recently (about a month ago) She decided that she needs to know what's going on so she wants to meet daily and wants a daily report listing all the calls I've made. Nevermind that we never review her accounts.

In the 10 years I've been doing sales I have never ever had to meet daily and offer this micro level of accountability. Has anyone ever heard of this?

What's worse is that I resent this because I am not allowed to do my job as a Sales manager (she's doing it for me) she's treating me like a rookie sales rep with 0 years of experience, and this wastes so much of my time that my sales output suffers.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
I am going to approach this a little different. I don't know what kind of relationship you have with the person who initially gave you your promotion to Sales Manager, before the Director of Global Sales was hired. You may need to ask for a few minutes of their time (or someone else in upper management), and have a talk about this with them. You will need to make sure of your 'success track' with the company, which is probably wonderful (or they would not have given you the title of Sales Manager).

You need to address this from a point of view of 'profitability for the company'; 'therefore best use of time'; 'your success in the past for the company and making sure of what your role is for now and the future'. The better your relationship is with 'upper management' the better your chance of an effective meeting.

You can never make this meeting w/upper management an 'attack of her style or personal sales production'.

You want to show a 'team player mentality and attitude', while getting a clear view of the situation at hand. - by Paulette Halpern
Andrea, I'd strongly advise against making any overtures above the new Director for the following reasons:
1. regardless of any relationship which you believe exists between you and the Director's boss, the individual MUST support their new Director; and,
2. the appropriate reaction of this senior manager to your approach would be to invite the Director into the meeting; and,
3. you will not get past the fact that the Director has every right to request the sort of information which is causing the concern;

As a young (national) mktg mgr, I went directly to the Exec. VP Sales & Mktg when there were fundamental concerns about the new Director of Mktg. I had prepared in advance all of the philosophical dynamics portrayed by Paulette (ie. professionalism, turnaround time for program revisions, product launches, etc.). But, when I walked into the VP's office, my boss was sitting there (prepped for the discussion). We spent 5 minutes in front of the VP, "agreeing to disagree" and moved out of the VP's office. We then went upstairs to the Director's office where "I got a new one carved"!!

Dont do it ...

BTW - the company was Apple Computer.

Good luck & Good selling!
Pat - by OUTSource Sales
Dont do it ...
Pat's counsel on this matter is excellent. I agree wholeheartedly. You could damage your situation considerably by not heeding it. - by Ace Coldiron
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