Are you suitable as a sales manager?

Kenneth Smit editorial | 13-05-2015

Managing a team of salespeople sounds like a fantastic challenge. The perfect step! However, being a sales manager is not for everyone. Well for you?

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You are a sales tiger through and through, you live for your customers. And don't forget about your targets! A real professional. And suddenly the opportunity is there: The current one sales manager is promoted and you have the opportunity to grow into a sales manager. Managing a team of salespeople sounds like a fantastic challenge. A higher salary, more responsibility and more prestige. The perfect step! However, being a sales manager is not for everyone. Well for you?

Can you let go of selling?

You were born for it and no one stops you from doing what you enjoy most. To sell! You like the customer contact, the freedom that the position brings and of course the fact that your job is not in the office, but on the road. Determine your own planning and fight for your targets. Exciting, sometimes stressful, but oh so delicious! You love tackling the challenges of a sales process and going through the entire process together with your lead or customer to ultimately reach a happy ending for both parties! But it is precisely this love that can make it difficult to feel comfortable in your “new” position. A sales manager is no longer in practice every day. You no longer have the freedoms of a sales professional, you have to be able to live with that. Hours on the road make way for hours in the conference room. Are you suitable for it? Can you let go of pure selling?

The 'legs in the clay'

As a seller you have your 'feet in the clay'. You determine your own fate and are responsible for yourself. That is sometimes difficult, but it is very satisfying. The tasks of a sales manager mainly take place at a strategic level. You are responsible for developing sales plans and leading the team of salespeople (of which you used to be one). In addition, you are usually part of a management team or board internally. So there are a lot of discussions and perhaps also the political games that come with a management position. You will be given a completely different set of tasks and you will also need to have other qualities to be a good manager and leader. So you get your feet out of the clay and switch to a job 'on dry land'. If you have always had that ambition, you can look forward to it with good courage. If not, first consider carefully whether these capabilities fall within your vision of the future.

Are you a people's manager?

Because you are responsible for an entire team of salespeople, you must have the qualities to manage and inspire this entire team. You have to be a good manager, both professionally and personally. It goes without saying that you have good ones communication skills must have. You must have skills as a people's manager.

As a manager you must also be able to motivate your team. As a former “seller” this should of course not be a problem for you. However, conveying your relentless drive to others is a lot more difficult. At the same time, with your experience there is also a danger lurking. You as a seller are convinced of your way of working and most likely think it is the best way. Remember that not every salesperson is the same. Your perfect way of working could be a complete flop for someone else. Let the salespeople do it their way. Imposing your methodology on the team can have a very demotivating effect on your employees. Moreover, there is a good chance that the salespeople on your team are just as confident in themselves as you have always been. That belief is a great strength for salespeople, so don't undermine it.

As you have 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 salespeople. Forging a successful team is at least as satisfying as closing a great deal, but it has to suit you. The question is whether this actually suits you as a driven seller. Therefore, before you make the decision, think carefully, not only about the advantages but also about the disadvantages. And be well informed and guided. Perhaps one can training of coaching trajectory by Kenneth Smit will help you with this.

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