The sales manager: occasionally (and hopefully) a more highly evolved salesperson who exists to lead, guide, assist, remove obstacles and eliminate excuses for, set the example, coach, train, serve and protect the salespeople reporting to him or her.
Sales managers are all around us; those in the selling game have likely encountered multiple. Like salespeople themselves, they have a wide range of qualifications, personality traits and work ethics, but the role of this figurehead is one that ties them all together.
This crucial leader is in place because of the people he or she leads, and this is a fact that can never be forgotten. Often, these coaches were once players of the game – likely above average or exceptional at that – but this is a new role, with new responsibilities and unique challenges. Whereas the salesperson is responsible for and accountable for one set of numbers, results and efficiencies (their own), the team leader must manage processes to achieve optimum results for their entire team.
Yes, that’s right – the sales manager’s primary role is management of process and people in perfect harmony.
In the realm of managing people, the boss needs to learn and understand them – their needs, strengths, areas of opportunity that need improvement, their potential and their pitfalls. It is important to stress to the team they manage that they exist to support them, answer questions or know where to find the answers (and know when to give them and when to require the work fall upon the seller), and that they take responsibility for doing their part in the salesperson’s career path. For, in any selling environment, sales manager and salesperson have a contract: upon issuance and acceptance of job offer, both parties agree to give their all, fulfill obligations in training, effort and results. Neither party can forget these promises.
The manager’s role in managing process – like any other facet of management – can have many different styles and approaches, but it boils down to one thing: the mechanics of successful leadership. Time management, ensuring that the training and coaching needs of his/her employees are being met, spending the right amount of time on each project and investing the right time and energy in the proper places – these are all incumbent upon the sales manager.
We will never see everything the sales manager grapples with, which is why an unclear picture of their worth sometimes exists. But an effective leader is so pivotal to any organization; their motivation, their wisdom and their ability to create and foster an environment that is conducive for results can and will make or break teams, offices, departments and companies.
Sales managers are an extremely valuable resource. They, too, must be trained, coached and shepherded along the path to exceptional leadership.
Just as a quality investment of time in a sales representative can positively impact every futuristic call they make, quality training and molding of a sales manager will trickle down to the hundreds of actions they undertake in a day, the hundreds of situations they face and the hundreds of employees who prosper under their tutelage.
The role of the sales manager – like any other rung on the ladder of the salesperson hierarchy – is imperative to make the sales wheel go around, be it for any part of the holy sales trilogy: the customer, the company and employees.
Carson V. Heady has written a book entitled “Birth of a Salesman” that has a unique spin that shows you proven sales principles designed to birth in you the top producer you were born to be. If you would like to strengthen your sales skills, go to http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ICRVMI2/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_yGXKtb0G
Heady posts for “Consult Carson” serving as the “Dear Abby” of sales and sales leadership. You may post any question that puzzles you regarding sales and sales leadership careers: interviewing, the sales process, advancing and achieving. You will also be directly contributing to his third book, “A Salesman Forever.”
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