TALKING SALES 119: "Top Sales Managers are Performance Supervisors"

John Smibert

Supervisor       "We need to guide performance based on leading indicators" - Interview by John Smibert

Sales management is one of the most difficult and complex roles.  A sales manager has to wear a many different hats including leader, coach, team captain and manager.

Wayne MoloneyIn this discussion with Wayne Moloney submits that another key role is 'performance supervisor'.  

He explains that management means measurement of processes and procedures in order to achieve outcomes.  Management is very focused on lagging indicators. Some people confuse managing with supervising.

on the other hand performance supervisor is focused on developing individuals by monitoring on the leading indicators and responding accordingly.

Wayne explains "Supervising is like guiding; it's understanding what needs to be done to be successful, helping translate that into a language that is understood by each individual, not just the team. Each individual picks that up differently, and then supervising their progress through that. Each one's going to be different".

Management is important - you can't discard the management of a process - yet you must supervise to ensure the individual develops what is needed to be to be successful.

View or read the full discussion with Wayne below. This interview is likely to be of interest to the CEO, CSO, sales leaders and sales managers.


Wayne Moloney is a leading business strategist specialising in sales and business development. Wayne has a very specific specialisation in 'lean selling'.

               See more of the 'TALKING SALES' video series here


John: Hello, I'm with Wayne Moloney again - welcome back, Wayne!

Wayne: Hi, John - good to be here!

John: Hey, we're going to talk about chapter four of your book, Your Roadmap to Sales Management Success.

Wayne: Yes.

John: Your title for this chapter is that a sales manager must be a 'performance supervisor'.

Wayne: I do.

John: I think I understand that, but I always use the words performance manager. Why do you call it performance supervisor?

Wayne: We've spoken about this, we've spoken about a sales manager's got to wear a lot of different hats, we've spoken about leader, coach, team captain, manager as well. I define management as measurement of processes and procedures, so a management role is really looking about processes and outcomes, whereas...

Rapport2John: But a sales manager has to do that, doesn't he?

Wayne: He has to, absolutely.

John: Or she.

Wayne: Yes, and, as I said, many hats that they've got to wear. But if you're only focused on the outcome, how are your people going to get there?

John: Right.

Wayne: Supervision is about directing people to achieve what you want them to achieve.

John: Supervision through the process, not just managing the outcome.

Wayne: Yes, yes.

John: Okay. Now, that makes a lot of sense to me.

Wayne: Yes. The difference between key performance areas and key performance indicators, or lead and lag indicators...

John: Lead and lag is the words I use, yes.

Wayne: Yes, and the lead is what makes people successful, so what actions and what areas the need to work in to be successful. You're writing a book on personal branding.

John: Yes.

Wayne: If I look at personal branding, that's an important area in these days as far as B2B selling is concerned.

John: Absolutely vital.

Wayne: Yes. So, you need to supervise and guide the people in your sales team of how to be good at that. You may not necessarily be the expert, but how do you help them get that skill.

John: And of course building a personal brand doesn't necessarily... You can't see the end result of getting sales from that, but you can certainly measure from a leading indicator point of view how well they've developed their personal brand, and that will be a step towards being successful.

Wayne: That's right, so you're supervising that process, as distinct from managing the process. And managing, as I said earlier, is really about outcome and measurement, as distinct from the guidance of someone through that process.

John: And if you look at all the other steps of the sale, the engaging and connecting in the first place with a customer, doing discovery, there's various activities and leading indicators that you can measure in each one of those. You're talking about looking at those indicators, and then supervising the progress through each one of those stages.

DiscoveryWayne: Yes. Supervising is like guiding; it's understanding what needs to be done to be successful, helping translate that into a language that is understood by each individual, not just the team, each individual picks that up differently, and then supervising their progress through that. Each one's going to be different.

John: Okay. I think that's a great message, and let's repeat it from a summary point of view. You're saying every sales manager needs to be a performance supervisor. And yes, I think performance manager still is applicable, but supervisor puts that connotation on it that makes a lot of sense. It's supervising through each step of the sale, supervising the development of the skills of the individual and so on.

Wayne: Absolutely. And as you're saying, management's important, you can't discard the management of a process, but you've got to supervise what the individual needs to be to be successful.

John: Great advice - I think it'll be a lot of value to the team out there!

Wayne: Thanks, John!

John: Thanks, Wayne!


More interviews with Wayne Moloney:



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