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Should Your EOS Sales Leader be a Fractional Manager?

If you’re a small business practicing the Entrepreneur Operating System (EOS) and searching for an EOS Sales Leader, you have a few choices. As the owner, you can take the lead, have a manager without sales experience lead, elevate a salesperson into the role or hire an experienced sales leader.

The experienced sales leader would be your best choice, but you’ll most likely find it the most difficult choice, and why a Fractional Sales Manager could be an option to consider to fill your EOS Sales Leader role.

As a reference point for small business size, let’s use 2-20 million in sales, less than 50 employees, and between 3-8 salespeople.

Why It’s Difficult to Hire a Professional EOS Sales Leader for Small Businesses

Two factors make it difficult to find the leader you hope for. First, the talent market is limited as most professional sales managers work at large corporations, well-funded start-ups, or medium-sized growth organizations.

Secondly, managing one small-business sales team does not present enough of a challenge for the type of eos sales leader you desire. The lack of challenge is not related to the sales leadership work they perform as much as to the lack of volume of work.

At Sales Manager Now, we effectively manage sales teams of 4 in about 15 to 20 hours a month, and we’ve been doing this since 2006.

A common belief is that a professional sales manager’s compensation is a hurdle to overcome, but we have not found that to be the case. Compensation can get them to join the team, but when it’s realized there’s not a full day’s worth of sales leader work and they are asked to help in areas of the business less attractive to them, many professionals start updating their resumes.

What Should Be Looking for in Your EOS Sales Leader

If you are an EOS company or not, the qualities you are looking for are the same. EOS uses the acronym LMA, Leadership, Management, and Accountability. You want someone who will inspire the sales team and others through their leadership.

They understand the power of vision, mission, and expectations to empower their team to perform. They are skilled at managing the details of meetings, processes, and systems. Finally, they are experienced in developing and contributing to an environment of accountability with their sales and L10 team.

They should be an effective people manager and communicator. This is different than being an effective salesperson. Salespeople don’t manage and lead people; they close deals. They manage short-term relationships to secure a deal and hand it off.

Managers hire and develop people. Their work is for the long-term growth of the company. They should have sales experience, but more importantly, they should have management and leadership experience. They should be able to contribute to your L10 meetings in a manner that helps you, your company, and your team to grow. They should be able to think and contribute to We, not Me. They should be able to challenge, debate healthily, listen, and contribute to discussions outside sales. This usually requires experience in working with other leaders. 

Create your Sales Manager Job Description and keep it to the Sales function or maybe include marketing. Be honest about how much time it will take them. I advise not having them be involved in closing deals unless they have technical expertise others do not have.

When you have a sales manager be your best closer, you are enabling a lower closing level with your salespeople. Your salespeople are not learning from their losses or developing their sales conversation to win on their own. 

Who to Avoid In an EOS Sales Leader Hiring Process

While you work through your hiring process, I would caution you away from the following three categories of talent. Of course they can all work but they present hidden challenges you might over look when hiring. 

Lifetime salespeople who have never managed and developed teams. You might be attracted to them due to their sales experience, and they know how to close you. This is someone who needs to work; they have a long resume in sales but have never been interested in taking responsibility for a team or developing people. They may have lost their energy to find new business, and management sounds easier. You might hear them say they have coached many salespeople over their careers. This often means they were asked to share their knowledge with new reps to help them get started or contribute to sales meetings. This would not be considered coaching, but rather being a good teammate. 

Promoting your best salesperson can work, but often does not. The Peter Principle often prevails, as it did for me early in my career. I was not ready to deal with people issues and liked my autonomy more than management reports and meetings. This can work if they want to be a leader and care about others’ success more than theirs. We have coached these salespeople into being Part-Time Sales Managers. They still sell with a quota and also manage the team. We teach them how to do both efficiently. Remember, you usually do not have a full-time sales management role at a small business. 

Corporate manager looking for full-time work. You’ll be impressed with their experience, but you still do not have a full-time role at your company, but they will sell you. They have all the qualities you are looking for, they can relieve you of all the sales headaches, and you are willing to pay them for this relief. The only problem is in three to six months, you’ll notice they don’t have enough to do, and you’ll start giving them more work to justify their salary. You now have a new headache, and they are starting to look around. 

Fractional Sales Manager: Are They The Right Person for Your Seat?

The Right Person in The Right Seat: EOS defines the right person being someone who fits your company’s core values. To assess this, you’ll have to interview your Fractional Manager, and that’s how we work at Sales Manager Now. 

Knowing if they are in the right seat is judged in three areas:  Get it, Want it, and Capacity to do it (GWC). Do they understand the job, responsibilities, outcomes, and expectations? Do they want the role you are offering? Lastly, do they have the capacity to get the job done? Alignment with the company’s core values plus a yes to GWC equals the Right Person in the Right Seat.

Get It: Fractional Sales Managers at Sales Manager Now work have worked with other leaders, built processes, developed teams, increased revenue, and can handle people issues. Most of our managers have between 10-30 years of leadership experience. They get that the role aligns with the company vision and goals and then build an accountable sales team that meets or exceeds the sales goals. 

Want It: Our Fractional Sales Managers enjoy the challenge of working with new industries, new people, and different cultures. Keeping their work focused on sales strategy, tactics, process, and people development is what they love doing. The fractional compensation model works well for the manager and your company. 

Capacity for It: At Sales Manager Now, our Fractional Sales Managers must keep 50% of their week open without meetings to meet client needs as they arise. In addition, our managers are organized and keep communication current and transparent. They are not bogged down with other company distractions, which allows them to focus on their core responsibility, developing people and increasing sales. 

And A Fractional Sales Manager satisfies the work-to-cost factor: Since you would be paying less than half of what you’d be paying a full-time sales manager, you’ll be more inclined to allow your new EOS Sales Leader to stay in their sales leader lane where they find their most satisfaction. Lower cost for you and more satisfaction for the leader is a healthy combination. 

We Have EOS Sales Leader Experience

I was personally introduced to EOS while contracted as the sales manager for one of our clients. My client company was entertaining the EOS process and asked if I’d be willing to take on the Sales Leader role, and be involved in the L10, quarterly, and annual meetings.

I did, and I was pleased I did. I found EOS to be a great fit, and Sales Manager Now and EOS had common practices. I was a fractional sales manager leading six salespeople and working with a team of 4 in the L10 meeting. I also worked with five other clients. I loved the challenge and growth we accomplished during our time together. 

The company did not need me to be in the office all day to know I was working. The proof of my work was monitored in our L10 and sales scorecard. I was a professional with good communication skills, so it was always easy to get answers and information from me. 

We’ve since had more clients have us become the sales leader on their EOS journey. 

If you’d like to talk about how we work, you can book a time with me on the Contact Us page. 

Rene is the President of Sales Manager Now, a company that provides fractional sales management services to small and family-run businesses. He has twenty-seven years of experience in sales leadership, coaching, and consulting. He is also the author of the Part-Time Sales Management handbook and is based in Auburn, California.

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