What’s so important about having a Sales Manager? After all, isn’t their job really about herding cats? To save the day? You know what I mean . . . micromanaging so that sales representatives never fail?
You may have heard questions to this effect — questions which reflect a devaluation of the role of Sales Manager, and the idea that a Sales Manager is a “Nice to Have,” not a “Need to Have.” (Read on to see that myth busted).
That’s not the only common myth about Sales Managers. Another is the expectation that their job should come naturally to them. It might if they are hired correctly. But in reality, most Sales Managers come into the position because they are exceptionally good at sales and demonstrate some leadership potential. Unfortunately, there is little overlap between the traits required for success as a Salesperson and as a Sales Manager. This leads to questions about why these Managers can’t just get their Sales Reps to replicate what they did.
Because of myths such as these, growing companies often create the position of Sales Manager as a last resort. When they do decide to acquire a Sales Manager, they may make a poor hiring decision based in part on these incorrect assumptions. This undermines the effectiveness of their new position (which in turn reinforces the idea that a Sales Manager is not as important to their organization).
Let’s explore some more reasons why the role of Sales Manager is often under-appreciated . . .
There is a common perception of Sales Professionals as hungry, aggressive, self- starters that will stop at nothing to “get” a prospect to buy. This perception leads to the belief that Sales Professionals are self-motivated beings, and that as long as there is a flurry of activity, there will be revenue.
In truth, individuals in sales roles represent a spectrum of beliefs, skills, competencies, strengths and weaknesses — all of which impact how successful they can become. This is where having an outstanding Sales Manager makes a significant impact on how much revenue will be generated.
Summing it up: 4 myths about Sales Managers’ value (BUSTED)
Myth: A Sales Manager is a “Nice to Have,” not a “Need to Have” — not important.
Truth: An outstanding Sales Manager makes a significant impact on revenue generation (see our case study for an example).
Myth: A Sales Manager’s job should come naturally to them.
Truth: Most Sales Managers are promoted from Sales positions. But the best Salespeople are not naturally suited to excel at Sales Management; there is little skill overlap between the two roles. There is no reason to expect the job would come naturally to them (read more here). Part of valuing this role is investing in it and giving your Sales Managers the tools they need to help the Sales Team succeed.
Myth: Sales Professionals are hungry, aggressive, self-starters that will stop at nothing to get a prospect to buy (hence, a Sales Manager is unnecessary).
Truth: Salespeople represent a spectrum of beliefs, skills, competencies, strengths and weaknesses — all of which can impact their success, approach and motivation (read more here). An effective Sales Manager will tap into each Salesperson’s unique set of skills, personality and motivations and coach them to improve their performance.
Myth: Sales Professionals are self-motivated, and as long as they are staying busy it will translate to revenue (hence, a Sales Manager is unnecessary).
Truth: For the Sales Team to perform well, they need an effective Sales Manager to hold them accountable and ensure they are doing the right activities on the right accounts (read more about that here and here).
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Rethinking the value of Sales Managers? Be sure you know what makes a good one.
What makes a Sales Manager outstanding?
- Developing goals that are personally meaningful to each Sales Representative
- Keeping the Sales Team accountable to plans of action to achieve goals
- Coaching each team member on a consistent basis to overcome weaknesses
- Knowing how each person is motivated and executing on that knowledge
Very few people are born “outstanding” Sales Managers. We have written about the different skill sets required for success as a Salesperson versus a Sales Manager; there is little overlap. These skills can be strengthened through Sales Management development and training with a focus on coaching, accountability and motivation.
Do you want to get the most out of your Sales Team? Start loving up your Sales Managers by recognizing and investing in the value of this role within your organization. Take the first step by tossing any erroneous assumptions you have about their potential value.