The Rolling Stones on Sales Management

Have any of you read Keith Richards’ autobiography life?  As you know he’s an ageing rocker from the Rolling Stones.  There’s a great segment in the book which describes how the Rolling Stones were managed and this made me think about modern sales teams and how they’re run and managed, in fact the parallel works for any performing team.

The Stones first hired Andrew Oldham who electrically branded them to compete against the clean cut Beatles. Then came Allen Klein, who gave them the rights to their music rather than the record companies with ruthless negotiation. Finally they took on Rupert Lowenstein who made the band one of the richest in history by turning them into a proper company.

One to market them in the public eye, one to make them rich and one to commercialise them.

Each manager had their individual talents and excelled in those areas. The question is, could any one have done all three jobs?  Unlikely and it makes me wonder and challenge some precious truths in sales and sales management:

  • Do you hire different salespeople for different sales jobs? Do you have characters that’ll open up accounts and different personalities who’ll manage these accounts or do you use the same people for both?
  • How different are your inside sales people to your face to face sellers?
  • Can the same salesperson call on CEOs as well as technical managers? I don’t think so.
  • Do you use the same sales manager to form a new team, then get them performing long term or do you have separate people in mind to do the different tasks. Think Tuckman’s forming, storming, norming, performing….can it be achieved with one person?

So finally an aging Rock and Roll star can teach us all something about running a sales team. Cheers Keith, have a drink on me.