Being a top performing sales manager or executive isn’t an easy job. Sales managers live in a world of constantly shifting priorities, crises, and challenges.

Simultaneously, sales leaders must balance their responsibility in executing the company strategy in the markets and with customers. They must respond to constant shifts in markets and ever-changing buyer and competitive demands. They must make sure their organization is prepared not only for today’s challenges, but for changes they know will come. They have to maximize the performance of the organization–in the face of few resources, less funding, increasing expectations and no time.

Even for the very best it’s a huge challenge, but too often, those thrust into sales management roles, particularly first line sales management, aren’t prepared for their sales leadership responsibilities.

Given the challenges, it’s no wonder the average tenure of a sales manager is approaching 18 months.

But the challenges faced by sales managers aren’t only those that are imposed on us externally by our companies, customers, and our people. Many of the challenges are things we inflict on ourselves. Too often, the phrase, “We have met the enemy and the enemy is us,” applies in how sales manager approach their jobs. Whether it’s not stepping up to performance issues, becoming desk jockeys or analysts of minutiae. Some choose to inflict themselves in everything each of their sales people do, micro managing every deal and activity. Others spend their time doing deals, thinking of themselves as super sales people rather than being sales leaders.

However you look at it, the job of a sales manager is not simple!

Having said that, there is much we can do to simplify what we do and how we work as sales managers. Most of it is pure common sense. Some of it is focus, discipline and pragmatic execution. A lot of it is creating the right environment or sales culture to drive each person to the highest levels of performance.

The things we need to do to simplify sales management are well understood. They are outlined in an extraordinary book by Mike Weinberg: Sales Management Simplified.

Mike’s straight, often blunt, approach to sales management, is pragmatic approach to the real worlds that sales people and managers find themselves working come through in simple messages about the job of the manager and how to drive top performance in the organization.

This summer, I had the pleasure of collaborating with Mike on Openview Labs Sales Management Series. Mike’s focus, clarity came through in each of those sessions–just as it comes through in Sales Management Simplified.

I can think of no better gift a sales manager can give to herself that buying, devouring, highlighting, annotating the book. It should be in arm’s reach of your desk, or on your tablet as you travel. It is your guide to focusing on those things most important to your people, your company and your own professional development as a manager.

At least until I publish my book, the Sales Manager’s Survival Guide, early next year, Sales Management Simplified is simply the very best book on sales management available. Next year, it will be one of the top 2 books on sales management ever written. (Mike, I just couldn’t resist adding these last 2 sentences–I know you’ll forgive me.)

As a final thought, Albert Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” Mike understands Sales Management!

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