Proceed With Caution: These 2 Jobs Are NOT The Same

The skills and personality attributes of sales managers who meet and beat expectation are usually very different from those possessed by the highest performing sales reps. This is why.

  1. sales-successSalespeople must deliver tangible sales results themselves. Sales managers must deliver tangible sales results through other people.Fundamentally, these are very different roles. Does having previous sales experience make a difference in the effectiveness of a sales manager? Absolutely. However, since the roles are quite different, the capacities, skills, and activities required for success are not the same.
  1. The sales rep role is largely tactical. They execute a defined sales process to land sales each month. Sales manager must live in both the tactical and strategic realms simultaneously. Strategically, they must develop a sales plan with organizational leaders for the entire sales team.  Tactically, they have to understand the subtle nuances of the sales process, aptitude of each sales rep, and specific coaching points to improve individual performance.
  1. A sales rep helping a customer succeed is very different from a sales manager helping a sales rep grow. Both require some degree of altruism, but a sales manager needs more than that. Without a genuine motivation for helping others develop personally, they may be challenged to achieve greater levels of performance from their team.

What does this mean for your organization? It means that if you want to develop your sales team so that they can achieve their highest potential, you will have to make some decisions. Sales reps sometimes assume that developing their sales skills, they can “work their way” into sales management. It’s true that strong sales performance can lead to a management job in many companies. However, that is not always the best course of action. Great salespeople don’t always make the best sales managers.

The development path for a future sales leader should look very different from one designed for someone who wants to be a top performing sales rep. Avoid the challenges that a conflict in alignment between the individual and their role. In other words, the right person in the wrong role can lead to less than stellar results. On the other hand, ensuring a proper alignment can greatly improve your chances for sales success.