Is Sales Management for You?

businessman pondering sales management

It’s not uncommon for successful sales professionals to be offered promotions into sales management jobs.  And because it’s considered a “promotion,” it’s easy to think the seller should take it.  But should she… or he?

Promote From Sales Rep To Sales Manager

I’ve seen a lot of people make this move and many end up regretting it.  Just because they’re good at sales doesn’t necessarily mean they’re well suited for management.  And for those who are, many find they enjoyed sales more.  They may miss the independence, the open-ended earning potential or the customer interaction, to name just a few of the rewards sales people enjoy.

I’ve also seen sellers make the move and thrive.  So how do you determine if it’s a good move for you?

How To Know If A Sales Rep Will Be Good In Sales Management

The following is a list of indicators that describe people who excel in sales management.  Consider whether they describe you.  If so, it might be just the move for you.

  1. You enjoy coaching and training your fellow sellers to succeed, and you do it frequently.
  2. You like planning how to achieve annual sales objectives.
  3. You’re pleased when other sellers are recognized for their individual wins.
  4. One of your strengths is strategizing about account situations with the sales team.
  5. Your peers and colleagues look to you for leadership. They come to you for your advice and take it. Your direction and ideas motivate them.
  6. You envision new markets your company could penetrate, and see how the sales team could do it.
  7. You enjoy teaming with marketing to execute lead generation campaigns.
  8. You’re hungry to be a part of the executive team, to make a difference in driving the success of the company.
  9. You’re organized and disciplined. You understand and appreciate the importance of forecasting, scheduled prospecting activities, consistent sales process and otherwise pain-in-the neck activities managers press their team to do – with good reason.
  10. Money is not your primary motivator. Instead, you feel rewarded by the success of the company, revenue and client growth. (It’s important to note that sales managers typically earn less than their team members, but can still earn fairly substantial incomes.)

What Are A Sales Manager’s Responsibilities?

You’ve put in the time and effort on the front line of sales. You have developed your sales skills and have built a track record of success, but you’re looking for more, and all the indicators point towards sales management. Before you walk in and ask for that well-deserved promotion, here’s what you need to know about a sales manager’s responsibilities.

1. Coaching and developing their team. This is the most important responsibility of any successful sales manager, because it’s through your team that you meet your goals. It includes things like weekly sales meetings, shadowing, pre-call planning, product offering direction, win/loss analysis, and training. All sales reps, even experienced salespeople, need coaching to be the high performers you know they can be.

2. Set sales team KPIs. If your company is establishing a new sales management position, KPIs may not exist, or may be too loose. Your role will be to establish them. If they are in place, are they the right KPIs to achieve the company’s overall goals?

3. Meet company KPIs, such as revenue and margin goals. They may be even more specifically defined as product areas, regions, new business development, or more. These goals align directly with your company goals.

4. Build and maintain client relationships. You will accompany sales reps to sales meetings as part of your coaching responsibility, or when having a manager along will add value to the meeting. Sales managers are the escalation point if there are problems. They are the brand ambassador to new prospects. Depending on the size of your company and sales team, you may be responsible for selling to your own clients too.

5. Establish sales process and systems. Your goal is to create a high-performing sales team that you can count on to deliver consistent results. Sales process and systems are the core of high performance. Many companies have no formal sales process established. This falls on the sales manager to define, implement, and train. If the CRM isn’t being used regularly, the sales manager owns that responsibility too. After all, it’s the CRM that will provide the reporting you need to keep your team on track.

6. Compensation planning if there is no CFO on staff. It’s common for sales managers in smaller companies to own this responsibility. In those instances, you’ll define the compensation plan, including salary, commission splits, and bonuses. You’ll determine which products and services qualify for commission and when commission is earned.

7. Work with internal departments, such as service, purchasing, and marketing. Sales doesn’t operate in a vacuum. All these internal departments help the sales team to operate effectively. Service is frequently involved as technical experts. Marketing generates awareness and MQLs that sales follows up with to create sales opportunities.

Being confident in your ability to meet these sales management responsibilities will help you stand out as an obvious choice for the position. It will set you on the path to advance your career from a salesperson to managing your own high-performing sales team.

Is Marketing A Sales Manager’s Responsibility?

To have the greatest impact on a company’s profits and growth, most of a sales manager’s time needs to be spent coaching and guiding their sales team. If they are also tasked with managing marketing, then they’re spending time developing the company’s lead generation system, which will come at the expense of the sales team’s development. Instead of focusing their efforts on creating a successful sales team, they’re often required to spend time overseeing activities like hosting webinars, developing a website, overseeing search engine optimization, creating email campaigns, and other lead generation efforts.

The sales manager should definitely be involved in defining target markets. Their sales team is selling into those markets. But owning the marketing responsibility for building a lead generation machine is a time-consuming job, especially as an add-on to sales management. Even if a sales manager has a marketing coordinator to own some tasks, the manager is still responsible for the strategy, and the marketing coordinator will also need leadership, coaching, and direction, just like the sales team.

Ideally, while marketing sounds like fun, a sales manager won’t want combined sales and marketing responsibilities unless they have team leads or middle managers in place who can give sales reps the coaching attention they need.

When To Choose Outsourced Sales Management

Business owners are often thrust into the role of sales manager as they begin to build a sales team, but most don’t love it, and many feel inadequate at it. Sales reps may see sales management as their natural career path until they discover they don’t enjoy managing, leading, and developing staff. What they really love is selling. That’s when outsourced sales management, or hiring a sales manager, becomes a better option.

With outsourced sales management, you can’t abdicate the sales leadership role, but you can offload the accountability, coaching, and development. When we manage sales teams for our clients, we work alongside the business owner to develop the whole group into high-performing salespeople. We take responsibility for monitoring KPIs weekly, reviewing opportunities, and motivating and coaching reps. We get you engaged for in-field and local activities.

Are You Ready For Sales Management?

If you saw yourself in these descriptions, congratulations on your future move into sales management.

If you discovered, however, that sales management is not for you, celebrate the fact that you found out before making an unhappy move. Remember, you already have a successful career, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with making sales a lifelong profession.

If you’d like to talk about taking sales management off your plate, contact us. We will consider the pros and cons of outsourced sales management or hiring a sales manager with you. We will guide you in making the best decision for your company, and then make it happen.

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