Various organizations have different sales structures. Unless you’re a one-man operation, every sales division within an organization should have a sales manager. Just because someone is called a “manager” doesn’t necessarily mean they are managing. Sales management is not rocket science (sorry all you sales managers that believe you’re special—although some of you truly are). Managing the sales manager is a whole other issue, and this is where the disconnect sometimes occurs.
I’ve written numerous articles about the role and function of the sales manager, but as I operate in various businesses and have occasion to encounter sales people, I marvel at their ineptness and why there isn’t any management follow-up. The only logical conclusion I can draw from these experiences is that management has not established effective goals and criteria for monitoring their sales force.
Here’s a news flash for mortgage managers: simply getting an originator’s email address and rate sheets will not translate to closed sales. Getting a company to become an approved broker will not translate to closed sales. When a loan is sent to the lender it will not necessarily translate to a closed loan. Where is the sales manager throughout this entire process? Closed sales are what management should be concerned with and have systems in place to monitor the effectiveness, or lack thereof, of the account executive.
Every new account executive is given product knowledge and operations protocol. With that training, the AE is required to create a book of business for the lender. First comes the announcement of the new hire, then the new hire turns over to the technology team all emails and contact information they’ve accumulated throughout their career, and finally, the lender proceeds to inundate the broker with rate sheets and product information.
In most instances, the manager then checks to make certain the AE is adding new names to the email list and trying to get brokers to become approved. How many people on the email list have submitted documentation to become approved? Of those approved, how many are sending in loans? Of loans being sent in, who is monitoring the quality and thoroughness of these submissions? What’s the pull-through ratio? How is the broker’s experience with the process? These, and more, are just some of the questions the sales manager should be considering. But that’s not the whole story.
How many brokers are in the AE’s area of responsibility? How many of these brokers have the AE actually spoken with and/or visited? How frequently is the AE making contact with existing and prospective brokers? Does the AE call the broker after a submission to acknowledge receipt and thank them for their business? Does the AE follow the loan through the system? What percentage of a broker’s loans is being sent to the AE? Questions and answers are a good guide for management in assessing the effectiveness of the sales organization within a company.
An effective sales manager will discuss with prospective new hires what the criteria for an AE will be and how the AE’s effectiveness will be monitored and evaluated. This is called managing expectations and frankly, the AE (as with every sales person) should know what will constitute success, mediocrity and failure. “Nothing happens until something gets sold!” No one gets paid by how many email accounts are receiving rate sheets—it’s how many brokers are using the sheets to price and close loans.
Lastly, a proactive sales manager should always be in contact with the AE’s customers to monitor their level of customer satisfaction/relationship management. This accomplishes a multitude of information necessary to improve and maintain customer relationships.
By asking the customer how you’re doing will show appreciation for the business you’re receiving and alert the sales manager about possible problems being encountered. Proactive, not reactive, will survive the competition.
Unfortunately, sales managers are not performing most of the above analysis and monitoring. But not to worry, sales managers, the performance of your sales team can be deflected with logical reasons for mediocrity that will be readily accepted by management. It’s not always easy to hire a salesperson that becomes a good fit for a sales team, but with a solid sales manager setting goals and expectations success becomes more probable.