RE: Salesperson wanting to be sales manager

Dear Salesman,

So you want that sales manager’s job because, “He doesn’t have to sell”, or, because, “He earns a much bigger salary”; well, read this. Sales management calls for different qualities from selling. Take resilience and selflessness.

Salesperson why do you want to become a sales manager?

As an A salesperson, you have overcome aborted meetings, dry spells and abject rejection. You take them in your stride. Does that qualify you to manage a sales team? Not necessarily. You are dealing with one person here-you. As sales manager only a few of your sales people (at best) will be A performers. That you will have more C and D performers and much less B’s is something you will have to learn to take in your stride. Your eternal challenge will be to keep the A’s at A, and continually coax, cajole, threaten, inspire, motivate and generally encourage the lower grades to move one grade higher. And for those that proudly wallow in the D grade you may have to cull.

Read: Why making salespeople into CEOs might not help firms

Sales manager job description

In addition, depending on your industry, many will leave you owing to a naturally high attrition rate in Sales. I said you and not the organization because it will feel personal. But that’s only the ‘front end’ of things. The ‘back end’ will stretch your resilience to breaking point. There are endless bashings from peers and seniors complaining about ‘your sales people’s’ behaviour (imaginary or real doesn’t matter-you will almost always be on the receiving end of this); and also, unmet targets. There will also be internal management meetings to attend, almost none of which will accelerate the sales process, nor feature in your appraisal.

But because of the title Manager you will be required to attend. This will stretch your loyalty between your team and the organization. Yes, embrace this truth- in most organizations Sales is seen as a separate entity; a step child. The more time you spend away from your team the more they will disrespect you.  The successful Sales Manager has developed a thick skin; he knows on which side his bread is buttered and will spend most of his time with his salespeople and sales-accelerating matters, ignoring the many admonitions that, “You do not attend management meetings.”  (And by the way, It doesn’t mater what your job description says are your duties and responsibilities; you are appraised on one thing: the team’s numbers.)

salesperson wanting to be sales manager

Read : Promoted from salesperson to sales manager?

How a sales person can become a sales manager

Now then. Show me a selfish sales manager, and I’ll show you a ticking time bomb. To thrive in managing sales people it cannot be about you but about your team. Successful sales managers will happily make a sale and give it to a team member. This could be to encourage or reward him. Irrespective, it is likely done bereft of any fanfare.  On the other hand, competition is woven into the fabric of successful selling. It is the rare salesperson that will be generous with the accounts they have closed. This is not an admonishment; it’s just fact. With targets to be met and efforts to be rewarded, it is natural behaviour. The point is, to succeed as sales manager you must grow into selflessness. And not just on giving accounts but also prioritising the team members’ needs over yours.

Sales manager skills for salesperson wanting to be sales manager

Running a sales team is not for the faint hearted. So, Salesperson wanting to be sales manager, can any one become a sales manager? What do you think? Is becoming a sales manager hard? You tell me. What I will tell you is this: Don’t be too quick to want that management job based solely on the fiscal reward.  Consider the emotional toll too. All the best

Read: Are you struggling to embrace your new sales leader role? Do this

You may also like to read this: Open letter: tips for the beginner salesperson

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