Are you suitable as a sales manager?

Kenneth Smit editors 13-05-2015

Leading a team with salespeople, that sounds like a brilliant challenge. The perfect step! Still, being a sales manager is not for everyone. Is it for you?

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You're a sales tiger at heart, you live for your customers. And for your targets, don't forget! A real professional. And suddenly there is the opportunity: The current sales manager is promoted and you have the chance to grow into a sales manager. Leading a team with sales reps, that sounds like a brilliant challenge. A higher salary, more responsibility and also more prestige. The perfect step! Still, being a sales manager is not for everyone. Is it for you?

Can you let go of selling?

You were born for it and no one is stopping you from doing what you enjoy most. Sell it! You love the customer contact, the freedom that comes with the job and of course the fact that your job is not at the office, but on the road. Determine your own planning and fight for your targets. Exciting, sometimes stressful, but oh so good! You like to tackle the challenges of a sales trajectory and go through the entire process together with your lead or client to come to a happy ending for both parties! But precisely because of this love it can be difficult to feel good in your "new" position. A sales manager is no longer in practice on a daily basis. You no longer have the freedom of a sales professional, you have to be able to live with that. Hours on the road make way for hours in the meeting room. Are you suitable for it? Can you let go of pure sales?

The 'legs in the clay'

As a salesman you stand with your 'paws in the clay'. You determine your own fate and are responsible. This is sometimes difficult, but it does give a lot of satisfaction. The tasks of a sales manager take place mainly on a strategic level. You take care of the development of sales plans and lead the team of salespeople (of which you used to be one). In addition, you are usually part of a management team or board of directors internally. So there are a lot of discussions and perhaps also the political games that go with a management position. You will be given a completely different set of tasks and you must also have other qualities in order to be a good manager and leader. So you take your paws out of the clay and switch to a job 'on land'. If you have always had that ambition, you can look forward to it with good courage. If not, first think carefully about whether these capacities fall within your vision of the future.

Are you a people's manager?

Because you are responsible for a whole team of salespeople, you must have the qualities to lead and inspire this whole team. You need to be a good manager, both on a business level and on a personal level. It goes without saying that you must have good communication skills. You must have skills as a people's manager.

As a manager, you also need to be able to motivate your team. As an old "salesman" this should of course not be a problem for you. However, conveying your unrelenting drive to others is a lot more difficult. At the same time, with your experience, there is also a danger lurking. You as a salesperson are convinced of your way of working and most probably find it the best way. Remember that not every salesperson is the same. Your perfect way of working can be a complete flop for someone else. Let the salesmen do it their way. Imposing your methodology on the team can have a very demotivating effect on your employees. Moreover, chances are that the sales reps in your team are just as convinced of themselves as you have always been. That conviction is a great strength for sales reps, so don't diminish it.

As you have been able to read, as a sales manager you must have very different qualities than as a salesperson. Experience shows that this is by no means a suitable step for all born sales people. Forging a successful team gives at least as much satisfaction as closing a great deal, but it has to lie to you. Whether this really suits you as a passionate salesperson is therefore questionable. Think carefully before you make the decision, not only about the advantages but also about the disadvantages. And be well informed and guided. Perhaps a training or coaching program of Kenneth Smit can help you with this.

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