TALKING SALES 168: "A sales manager is a Team Selector"

John Smibert

Selecting 01 700x470       "Select a champion team - not a team of champions" - Interview by John Smibert

The role of a Sales Manager has a lot of similarities to the manager or coach of a sports team. As an example one key task of a sports team manager is to select the best team that they can to put on the field.

Wayne MoloneyI was interested in the fact that Wayne Moloney dedicated a whole chapter of his sales management book to the subject of selecting.

So I asked him to discuss this with me so I could share his thoughts with you.

Wayne pointed out that selecting the team is one of the most important functions of a sales manager. He emphasised that this is not about selecting a team of champions - it's about putting together a champion team.

Wayne went on to recommend the four key principles of team selecting to ensure the manager achieves a well balanced team capable of winning.

He provided great advice that is easily actionable for sales managers.

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!

John: Hey, we're talking through all the chapters of your book, Your Roadmap to Sales Management Success, and we're about to hit on what is a great chapter, and that is all about the sales manager having to be a very good selector.

Wayne: Yes.

John: Nothing worse than choosing salespeople for your team, going through six or twelve months, finding it's never going to work out and then letting them go, and all that productivity lost, big investment in your own time and expense. I've seen it happen so often.

Wayne: Yes, it is. One of the key areas a sales manager has to look at... If you break it down to that people side of things, it's about hiring, training and retaining the right people, and of course that starts with the hiring process which is the selection process. As you'll note in the book, I make a lot of analogies back to sporting areas because it's so similar, you've got to select the right team. As in a sporting environment, if you're always just selecting the best player, you end up with a team of great players but not necessarily a great team.

Australia's women's eight will row for a gold medal today.

John: Yes.

Wayne: So, the sales manager needs to select the right people to fit into that environment that they've got.

John: I've seen it often. You'll go and find a great salesperson and bring him into the team, but they happen to be a real high-flyer but not a team member; they might get some orders for you but they destroy the productivity of the team.

Wayne: They destroy the productivity and they destroy the culture, and culture is so difficult to rebuild; it's so difficult to get in the first place, it's very easy to destroy, and it's so difficult to rebuild. So in finding the right person I talk about four rights. The first is the 'right position'. Are you recruiting for the right position in the organisation? If you think of the old hunter-farmer environment, are you getting the right attitude of people to be the hunters or the farmers or whatever, but have you got that position to find as clearly as what it needs to be?

John: And I'm not too sure hunting and farming is a valid concept anymore, but whatever you define it as.

Wayne: That's right, yes - whatever you define it as. And you're right, these days every salesperson needs to be hunting and farming, so that's not really the issue there. 

John: And the second of the four rights?

Wayne: The second of the four rights is the 'right time', and I refer there not just to the right time within the organisation but the right time within the salesperson's career that you're bringing on. Is the role that you're going to put them into going to complement where they want to go in their career and where they're currently at in their career?

John: Right, good point.

Wayne: That's very important. But also, the right time in the organisation. Is the organisation in a position to be able to bring that person on and give them the level of support that is necessary for them to be successful? And if it's not, you need to delay or defer that decision.

John: Okay. And the third of the fourth rights?

Wayne: We're talking there about the 'right things', and what we're doing is... Does the recruit have all of the necessary things in place within the organisation or for the recruit within the organisation, again, to help them be successful? That comes back to, being an emphasis on the sales manager, having things right for that person to come in. Are they able to induct them into the organisation effectively? Can they provide them the right training? Can they provide them the right support? Can they provide them the right tools? All of those things come into it.

John: This is really talking about the onboarding process, right?

Wayne: Yes, it is.

John: Making sure you've got a very strong onboarding-there's nothing worse than hiring a great salesperson and them not being brought on board an inducted into the culture and understand what they have to be to be successful in our organisation, and you find they flounder. They might have been very successful previously, but they flounder in your own organisation, if you don't onboard them properly.

Wayne: Yes. Again, and you see that in sporting teams. You look at teams that will bring on a star player in another team, but they just don't fit the culture of that team.

John: In fact, they can destroy the whole team culture and the team can go downwards, even though they've got better players in the team.

Wayne: Yes. And that leads to the next right, which is the 'right way'. Does the person fit into the way of the organisation? Does he understand the culture and does he accept the culture?Selecting 04 700x580

John: He or she, mind you.

Wayne: Sorry, of course, he or she, within in the organisation.

John: I've seen that so often. Every organisation has a culture, they develop that culture carefully, they have that whole philosophy in the way they do business with customers and they work internally, and you bring somebody in and you haven't thought about that, and of course when you look post the decision, you suddenly realise, "We made a bad decision here. This is a great guy or girl, but they don't fit into our team."

Wayne: All good organisations should have "a way we do it here," and that's really the culture. So, does the person coming on board, he or she, do they fit into the way we do things here?

John: And I think the other point that I would like to emphasise is this sounds like a lot to think through and plan, and it does take a lot of time in selecting a salesperson.

Wayne: Yes.

John: Sometimes I've seen people take shortcuts-I've done it, I've taken shortcuts because I haven't got the time right now and I need somebody on board to fill this role, and if you don't follow those four rights... you're going to end up going through the same process in six months' time.

Wayne: And just as importantly is not doing anything because you haven't got time and you get in and do it yourself, and then you end up in a hole because you haven't got time to do your job properly as a sales manager, and you're not doing the job properly as a salesperson which you shouldn't be doing anyhow.

John: If you don't make the time properly right now, you probably shouldn't do it at all; leave the gap there until you do have time.

Wayne: Yes.

John: Okay. Great advice, and I think selecting is absolutely a prime skill and capability that a sales manager needs to develop. I really enjoy your insight.

Wayne: Thanks, John!

John: Thanks, Wayne!


More interviews with Wayne Moloney:



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