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  Q. How often should a sales manager visit the customers?
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by Dave Kahle
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Dave Kahle
"I hope you enjoy this article. We have lots of resources on this site, ranging from dozens of similar free articles, podcasts, weekly features, books , CDs and video training programs. Enjoy! "

There are a couple of ways to answer the question. From one perspective, you need to have your own relationship with the good customers in your area of responsibility. There are several reasons for that.

First of all, you're a boss – part of the company's management. As such, you are perceived to have more power and influence than a sales person. Your good customers will want to know you, because the relationship with you gives them access to higher levels within your organization.

Additionally, many of these customers will tell you things that they won't tell the sales person. They will share concerns, plans and goals that they don't share with your sales person.

Secondly, you need your own relationship with the good customers so as to provide a back up if the sales person leaves. In the worst case scenario, if a disgruntled sales person leaves and joins the competition, you need to know who the customers are, and they need to know that you are the face of the company behind the front line sales person.

Notice that the emphasis here is on "good" customers. I don't think that you need to know every customer, nor do you need to know the prospects.

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Now, back to the question. How often should you visit the customers? Often enough to accomplish the above two objectives. Then, you should visit them with your sales people to support the sales person, to add credibility to his/her presence, and to coach and counsel the sales person on techniques and strategy.

That's the first answer. The second answer is simpler: More than you do. I have yet to meet a sales manager who spent as much time in the field as he/she would like to spend. I can almost categorically state that every sales manager should spend more time in the field than they do.

If you have any comments or questions, email them to me.
I do, of course, reserve the right to edit.

Here are a few articles by Dave
that you might be interested in reading:

  • What's the Best Way to Find a Good Salesperson... Good question! It seems that everyone has a favorite response. Some people only use recruiters, and others swear by networking. But classified ads continue to be the most common choice. Almost everyone who hires salespeople will, at some time, search for prospects via the "help wanted" section.... {Read More}
  • Is it Time to Revise Your Sales Compensation Plan?... If you're paying your sales reps straight commission, you're using an obsolete formula. If you're paying your sales reps a straight salary, you're also using an obsolete formula. Read this article to find out a much more effective way to compensate your sales staff.... {Read More}
  • How to Deal with the Salesperson Who Has Leveled Off... Every manager has, or will, confront this troublesome issue. It's arisen in every workshop for sales managers or branch managers I've done. One or more of your salespeople has leveled off. Their performance hasn't improved much in the last few years. Where before you were able to count on significant increases each year, now you can not. You know that these experienced salespeople can do better, but they seem unable or unwilling to break out of a certain level of performance. You are scratching your head, frustrated, and loosing sleep at night wondering how to improve the situation. What do you do?... {Read More}
There are also many other action-packed articles for sales professionals that offer how-to solutions to every day sales problems that you can read online at www.davekahle.com/article.htm.
Dave Kahle has trained tens of thousands of B2B salespeople, sales managers and business owners to be more effective in the 21st Century economy. He's authored nine books, and presented in 47 states and seven countries. To access Dave's training, insights and tools online, visit The Sales Resource Center. Visit www.davekahle.com to check out a seminar near you.
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