"Big Hat, No Cattle"...and Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Sat, Feb 25, 2017

I've found that there are two types of managers who work in our profession of Sales...

1.   "The Big Hat-No Cattle" Managers|

Big Hat No Cattle.pngThese are "The Big Bullet Managers". 

They may, in fact, have some old school selling skills still hanging around that they can execute on pretty well.  Typically , they're reasonably effective closers on the very big deals.  Their trademarks are the back slap and the big handshake, but to give them credit, they are typically superb networking and relationship people.  


  • They talk in high level generalities
  • They do know how to kickoff a discussion
  • They do have great listening skills
  • They know when to shut up and give 'the thoughtful nod'
  • They love to have lunch and dinners
  • They do golf very well
  • They are either frightened by or aren't fluent in sales and marketing tech

    On the very negative side, they complain, and worse, they allow their players to complain, about Marketing and the lack of good leads, or good events, or good tools, or whatever else they can complain about to deflect attention from their own results...or simply, they just like to complain and shout a lot.

 2.  "The Fingers-in-the-Crankcase-Oil  Managers"

These are the real Player/Coaches!.  They can still play the game when necessary and are very crankcase oil.jfifcomfortable moving quickly back and forth from the playing field to the sidelines.  Their strongest skills are coaching even though they still regard themselves as simply students of the game while at the same time their actual demeanor exhibits very strong leadership.

  • - They are fluent and detailed in their use of sales processes, tools, and technologies
  • -They are simply excellent in balancing their time between strategies and tactics
  • They attend every training session and get certified right along with their players
  • Their workspace is their always-open mobile CRM with its integrated apps and hard data
  • They talk in detailed metrics, and their whiteboards are covered in math equations
  • They are strong teammates with their peers in Marketing, Engineering and Finance

In a recent HBR blog this week...

by Frank V. Cespedes and Christopher Wallace


...they point out that the real issue in the continued low sales productivity of our salesforces is the lack of alignment between the salespeople, sales management and the rest of senior management, starting with the CEO.   

  • U.S. companies spend over $900 billion on their sales forces, which is three times more than they spend on all ad media.
  • Sales is, by far, the most expensive part of strategy execution for most firms. Yet, on average, companies deliver only 50% to 60% of the quota and bottom line financial performance that their strategies and sales forecasts have promised.
  • More than half of executives (56%) say that their biggest challenge is ensuring that their daily decisions about sales strategy and resource allocation are in alignment with their companies’ strategies. That’s a lot of wasted money and effort.

From these results, a broad story emerges...

  • Senior leaders have a better relative understanding of the company’s direction than sales reps, but are concerned that they don’t have the right sales processes and people.
  • Salespeople are confident in their abilities to execute, but admit they have little understanding of the strategic direction, and its implications for their behavior, at their respective companies.

To add to that, the groups are far apart on basic elements such as recruiting, hiring, training, and role alignment. You can see why a simple statement —“I’m from Corporate (or I'm a Sales Consultant"), and I’m here to help you”— is one of the oldest jokes in many firms.

If and when leaders want to make changes, misalignment sets up a costly and frustrating cycle.

  • Companies fail to get the most out of the $12 billion a year they spend on sales enablement tools and the $ billions more on CRM technology.
  • And hiring the right candidates also becomes a problem, especially as new buying processes, driven by online technologies, reshape selling tasks. If information isn’t flowing between senior execs and front-line customer-contact people, both sales management and the senior team management won’t be able to keep up with the new skills and sales tasks they should be hiring for.

We've seen this rodeo 100's of times....

The very good news is that there are direct solutions to what has been consistently defined as The #1 Management Problem for the past five years by most CEOs in B2B companies:

"I need to improve the productivity of my salespeople this year"

whiteboarding image1.jfifFrom our 25 years of experience working in the field on improving sales and marketing productivity, one of the most direct and shorter term approaches we've discovered is to sit down (more exactly, actually "stand up") for a half or a full day and work through a Whiteboarding Session with one of our Coaches


  • We proactively together take apart your current sales processes
  • We collaboratively tighten up your current sales tools and point out what you're missing
  • We create new approaches to your waterfall math, your metrics and how you use your data
  • We do a quick assessment in real time on your CMS, CRM and other sales tech tools
  • We dissect your "Command of Message", "Value Propositions" and "Checklist" tools

It's a unique, fast-paced, somewhat exhausting and very energizing way to spend a day, which leaves you with a details blueprint for moving head.

If you're interested,just click here to learn more, or just email me at jack@derbymanagement.com to set up a time to talk through a few ideas.

Best of Success in finishing February on plan !

 Jack Derby

Head Coach  

 Derby Management...for 25 years
 -Sales & Marketing Productivity Experts
 -Business & Strategy Planning Specialists
 -Senior Management Coaches for CEOs & VPs

Derby Management.jpg

Boston, MA 02117
Jack's Cell: 617-504-4222 




Tags: Sales Management Best Practices, sales management, sales management effectiveness