Do You Need a New Sales Manager?
By: Adam Groff
The only thing more difficult than realizing your current sales manager isn’t making the grade is the tiring process of finding a new one.
Sales managers are the queen bees of any businesses’ hive; they dictate a company’s day-to-day sales activities and ensure the business is thriving. Luckily, there are a few helpful pointers to follow that’ll make the process of choosing your next sales manager an easy one.
Personality Goes a Long Way
There are many qualities to look for in a worthy sales manager and one of the most important qualities is personality. An individual’s ability to be personable and sociable to customers is of utmost importance – especially in a sales role or as a role model for other salespeople.
Some traits to look for in sales managers are the candidate’s confidence level in social situations, their ability to communicate ideas, their problem solving skills, and how they handle stress. Just remember that not every candidate will possess all of these traits, so be flexible and know that many of these traits are acquired over time.
The Candidate Pool
Before diving into the selection process, it’s important to decide whether or not the next sales manager will be recruited from within the company or not. Internal recruitment has its benefits like familiarity with the company and an understanding of its practices.
On the other hand, external recruitment brings fresh perspectives and new ideas to how things are already done. Additionally, hiring from the outside will ensure other sales associates aren’t competing for the manager position or becoming jealous when one sales associate is chosen over the other.
If a leader is unable to effectively lead, then followers will be led astray. Translate this into business terms and it simply means a poor sales manager will result in poor business. So, when choosing your next sales manager, keep in mind that the candidate’s ability to handle other sales associates is just as important as their ability to handle customers.
A strong leader should be able to assess individual and team sales goals, step in when expectations aren’t met, confront other sales associates without being combative, and commend others for a job well done. The right mix of stern and fair will make the sales team feel as though their sales manager is always on their side.
Learn From Past Mistakes
When you make the same mistake twice, you’ll experience twice the disappointment. So, acknowledge what didn’t work with the previous sales manager and compare it to the next candidate in line.
If the last manager was too relaxed resulting in a loss of sales, look for someone who’s energetic and eager to please – reverse the course of things.
If it seems impossible to look for all the qualities above within the first or even second interview, try putting together a sales manager assessment test. Assessment tests touch on all the key points and desired traits of the ideal candidate for your business before the interview even takes place. This streamlines the interviewing process and gives the employer more time to get to know the candidate.
EcSell Institute’s Compass Assessment Tool is a free online assessment test tailored specifically to sales managers and measures their ability in six different categories: talent acquisition, sales methodology, professional development, sales analytics, employee recognition, and planning.
Another effective online sales manager assessment is The Decisive Edge’s Profile Sales Assessment test. The PSA works as a “job matching” test that measures a candidate’s behavioral traits and true occupational interests rather than job specifics.
When searching for your next sales manager, learning from past mistakes, taking advantage of the assessment tests available, and choosing a candidate with a great personality are just a few ways to ensure the right fit is made. As long as the candidate is right for your business, it’ll be a match made in sales heaven.
About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of quality content. He specializes in writing on a variety of topics including time management skills, healthcare recruitment, and things that make business sense.
What’s Causing the Global Supply Crunch?
As the global economy gradually recovers from the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, worldwide supply crunch is intensifying, spreading not only from one country to another, but also from one industry to another.
A year ago, when the pandemic continued to spread, economies around the world were severely hit and there was panic buying among consumers. Today, it is companies that are trying to go on a stockpiling, buying more raw materials than they need to keep up with rapidly recovering demand. The panic buying is fuelling more shortages of raw materials, including copper, iron ore, steel, corn, coffee, wheat, soybeans, wood, semiconductors, plastics, cardboard, etc. As a result, inventories of seemingly every raw material around the world are running low. “You name it, and we have a shortage on it,” Tom Linebarger, chairman and chief executive of engine and generator manufacturer Cummins Inc., said earlier, and he noted that his clients are “trying to get everything they can because they see high demand”.
Supply shortages have driven prices up significantly, with the impact of rising prices for some key raw materials being significant. The prices of various industrial raw materials such as crude oil, plastics, and chemicals are rising. Some of the impacts of higher raw material prices have already begun to be reflected in consumer goods. Reynolds Consumer Products Inc., the maker of the namesake aluminium foil and Hefty trash bags, is planning another round of price hike, and this will be the third for the increase this year alone. Food prices are also climbing. The price of palm oil, the world's most consumed edible oil, has risen more than 135% over the past year to record levels; soybeans have topped USD 16 a bushel for the first time since 2012; corn futures prices have touched an eight-year high, and wheat futures prices have risen to the highest level since 2013.
Changes in factory orders due to the impact of the pandemic have also tightened supply in some markets and pushed up prices for raw materials. Some knitting enterprises in Dongguan, Guangdong, said that affected by the pandemic, about 40% of the orders have come back to China from countries such as India and Southeast Asian countries, while the factory utilisation rate has increased by about 30% to 40%, and now it has reached 100%. In Jiangyin, Jiangsu, a bedsheet enterprise adjusted its production capacity to accommodate a USD 20 million order from Southeast Asia. Increased demand from the textile industry has led to tight supplies of raw materials. In Wujiang, Jiangsu, where polyester filament yarn is the most in demand, the shortage of raw materials this year has been unexpected, especially in the current off-season, when there is not much stock. In Suzhou, also in Jiangsu, the export of polyester filament yarn increased by nearly 60% from January to April, while the price increased by 40% to 60%. Compared with the same period last year, the price of filament yarn increased by RMB 2000-3000/ton.
Remarkably, this hoarding frenzy is pushing global supply chains to the brink of collapse. Inventory shortages, transportation bottlenecks, and price increases are nearing critical levels, raising concerns that strong global growth could fuel inflation. The supply disruptions in the past are simply incomparable compared to the severe inventory crunch of 2021. Industry insiders predict that both large and small enterprises will be affected by this supply shortage.
Why are current supply shortages so acute?
Researchers at ANBOUND believe that instead of having one single factor, there are multiple reasons for the emergence of complex systemic problems.
First of all, there is the recovery in demand as the pandemic is brought under control. This year, as vaccination rollout efforts have brought the pandemic significantly under control in the United States and some European countries, the economy has begun to show significant momentum for recovery. This trend prompted a near-simultaneous recovery in most markets around the world. The collective recovery of global markets has led to a near-simultaneous increase in demand, exacerbating the mismatch between supply and demand. In the case of commodity futures, the capital was collectively bullish on commodities under such expectations, significantly driving up the prices of commodities (mostly upstream commodities) and spreading to midstream and downstream commodities. It should be noted in particular that the surge in demand for certain specific commodities under the pandemic has also exacerbated the supply-demand mismatch in some industrial chains. For example, the increase in the need of remote, online working and studying has increased the demand for all kinds of electronic products, leading to a surge in global demand for semiconductor chips, which affects several chip-requiring industries.
Another reason is that the pandemic has disrupted the global supply chain system, causing distortions in supply and demand in certain industries, which are transmitted along the supply chain, causing a wider supply crunch. As ANBOUND previously pointed out, the spread of the pandemic has dealt multiple blows to global supply chains. During the pandemic, China, as the "world's factory", was affected by the pandemic and its production side was disrupted. Then, the demand side of developed countries was suppressed by the impact of the pandemic. This is followed by the fact that the malfunctioning of the global supply chain system has exacerbated global supply distortions. To cite an example, the severe shortage of containers due to disruption of the supply chain has exacerbated the global supply distortions.
In addition, enterprises began to collectively increase their inventories, leading to the increase of inventories in the industrial chain and supply chain, amplifying the demand for all kinds of raw materials, intermediate products, and supporting products. In the past, in order to save costs and improve efficiency, many enterprises advocated zero-inventory production and tried to reduce the inventory in the production link, thereby reducing the capital occupation. However, the smooth operation of zero inventory production depends on the efficient global supply chain system. Once a problem occurs in the global supply chain system, it can lead to chaos in the whole supply chain system. The 2011 earthquake in Tōhoku, Japan has caused the shutdown of some key auto parts plants, which once led to the global auto supply chain being affected. Likewise, the global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic since last year has damaged, distorted, and even disrupted global supply chains.
Finally, geopolitical factors have also contributed to the tight supply of global commodities, resulting in the artificial disruption of part of the industrial chain and supply chain. For example, the U.S.-driven crackdown on chip supply to Chinese enterprises and related sanctions have seriously disrupted the global semiconductor industry chain.
How long will the supply crunch last?
Overall, the global supply crunch is due to a variety of reasons, including increased demand from the post-pandemic economic recovery, distortions in global supply chains caused by the pandemic, collective stockpiling by enterprises around the world, and geopolitical disruptions. However, this does not represent a significant expansion of aggregate global demand, but rather a distortion of the existing system as it is disrupted and broken. Judging from the current situation, this tight supply situation will last for a long time, leading to the price rise of raw materials and components. Therefore, both enterprises and governments need to be prepared for this scenario in the medium- and long-term.
Mr. He Jun is Partner, Director of China Macro-Economic Research Team and Senior Researcher. His research field covers China’s macro-economy, energy industry and public policy.