How You Became the Sales Manager You Are

As a sales manager, you are a composite of the sales managers you worked for.

If your sales manager lived behind his desk, never going into the field with his people, you learned to live behind the lines with nice clean boots. If your manager was in the field dealing with customers, you will lead from the front. You’ll have muddy boots from being close to the action.

If your sales manager was a super-closer, swooping in to save deals at the last minute in an heroic effort to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, you’ll do the same. The opposite could also be true. Your sales manager may have been the kind to sit quietly, providing feedback after the call, there only to help you grow. If you were lucky enough to have that manager, your people will be equally lucky.

Forecasts are important. Some sales managers (and company leaders) act as if the only thing that matters is the forecast. These forecasters stare at dashboards and sift through data, as if the data itself could create the outcomes they need. If you were relentlessly asked for a forecast, you’ll do the same. But you may have had a sales manager that only asked for a forecast when it was necessary, you’ll invest your time doing the work that makes the forecast worth looking at.

Many sales managers never coach the people in their charge. Instead, they dole out orders, always directing people in what they need then to do, and how they need them to do it. If you simply took orders, you will give orders. A coaching manager is different. They focus on helping their people grow and turn in their best ever performance. If you had a coach as a model, you’ll be a coach.

Like any profession, the reason there are so many bad sales managers is because so many of them had bad models themselves. The reason there are so many great sales managers is because they had great managers of their own.

If you had a bad sales manager as a model, you know what not to do. You can give people a better experience than the experience to which you were subjected. If you had a great sales manager, you need to honor that by being that model for your team.

Filed under: Sales Management

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