Why sales managers should never micromanage

Laura Parker
Jul 2019

No-one really likes being told what to do in the workplace. Most of us don’t have a problem with being asked to do something by the boss – that’s part and parcel of working life – but having orders barked at us, or having the boss interfere in what we are doing (micromanagement) …that can feel hugely intrusive.

It doesn’t especially matter whether you work in finance, HR, marketing or elsewhere in the business – being micromanaged is not pleasant and there are consequences when it does take place.

beSlick conducted research earlier in 2019, that looked at leadership in SMEs and what impact – good or bad – that leadership had on the workforce. It emerged that 45% of SME employees have quit a job because of their boss. This is an incredibly high number and one which means that great employees are leaving jobs all the time because of poor leadership, departures which really could and should be avoided. 

No SME wants to lose good employees from any department. But I wonder if the departure of good salespeople could be the most keenly felt by a business? Good salespeople are generally regarded as harder to come by than employees in other business functions, and the ability to win new business is one that is especially highly prized in SMEs.

Not only should SME bosses make sure they give their sales teams enough room to do their job to the best of their abilities, but it’s also vital that process is used to make sure that things are done in the appropriate way. 

Micromanagement in sales

The beSlick research also looked at what SME workers felt were some of the biggest issues with leadership. Unsurprisingly, issues such as micromanagement by bosses, and bosses being unclear when issuing a task or instruction were two of the biggest complaints.

Among SME sales staff, the research revealed that 23% said that their boss was guilty of micromanagement and 24% said they were unclear when issuing tasks or instructions. When you also factor in that 25% of SME sales staff felt the boss took credit for their achievements, then you have a set of behaviours that could easily lead to someone looking around for another job. 

When that someone is an individual that regularly wins new customers for the business and has a significant role in profits, cash-flow and the bottom line, then it’s an absence that would be noticed hugely.

The use of process in sales

But there is a straightforward way in which salespeople can be left to do their job, but where bosses also have the peace of mind that should ensure they don’t feel the need to micromanage their sales teams – using process to ensure that nothing slips through the net.

While salespeople are motivated mostly by hitting their targets there are a great number of tasks in their day-to-day activities that could be improved by the use of process. Much of these are based around BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timing), the sales qualification methodology that lets salespeople determine whether a prospect is a good fit, based on whether they have budget, are the decision-maker, have the need and have the desire to do something new. This can all be done more efficiently and effectively through the use of process, ensuring that time isn’t wasted if your contact doesn’t meet these requirements.

That’s where a process management tool like beSlick can be invaluable. It documents each process step-by-step, so salespeople know exactly what to do. Because the process is being followed, bosses no longer feel the need to meddle and interfere and can back off and let their salespeople close out their deals – everyone is happy. 

Bespoke process templates for sales

But salespeople are busy and getting started with process can sometimes feel like just another item on a lengthy to-do list. That is why we’ve launched a new series of templates specifically for sales professionals, all aimed at making life easier.

Salespeople will be able to adapt and refine each template to suit their own individual needs. Browse our process template library, find the sales template you’d like to start using, click on ‘Use template’ button and you are ready to go!