If you’re a top sales rep thinking about transitioning in the world of management by becoming a sales manager, congratulations! The shift can be an incredibly rewarding step into the next level of your career.
However, not every superstar sales rep makes a good manager so how do you know if you’re fit to make the switch?
A lot of your success as a manager will depend on whether you can make the mental shift from closer to cheerleader. A manager is not a super seller, but a coach, supporter, motivator, liaison, and more.
A sales manager needs to be able to wear many hats and pull them all off flawlessly.
There are the top seven questions you should ask yourself before you choose to go into management.
1. Does the success of others excite you?
After becoming a sales manager, it’s all about the success of your team. Your quote is now your team meeting their quotas. If you love being the cheerleader on the sidelines and watching others win, then becoming a sales manager will be a great fit for you.
On the flipside, if you love being a superstar closer, being a manager is not the same thing. A manager is an enabler, a supporter, but never a star.
Only 17% of the metrics sales managers are held accountable to are within their actual control. Everything else hinges on the work of their team and organization.
2. Do you understand how all the pieces of your organisation come together?
When you’re a sales manager, your responsibilities don’t stop at a quota. You need to understand and mastermind many different needs converging from different departments.
Not only should you understand the needs of your sales reps (like easy if you already are one!), but also the needs of the higher ups. And somehow find a happy balance.
3. Do you have strong personal communication skills?
It’s not just about the gift of gab, but of being able to accurately convey thoughts, motivate others, coach as needed, and advocate for your team’s and organization’s success.
Becoming a sales manager will mean leaning heavily into your ability to use communication in virtually every situation.
Data from a professor of sales at Ohio University shows that 58% of a sales manager time is dedicated to managing people or information, so communication skills will play heavily into your day-to-day life.
4. Do people come to you for advice?
A great first step to becoming a sales manager is taking a position of authority within your team. If you take new recruits under your wing, offer your advice on best practices, and generally become a pillar of strength that others look to, you are well on your way to becoming a successful sales manager.
5. Can you own your mistakes?
People respect a manager that can fess up and admit when they were wrong. It is important to lead by example and practicing accountability is key.
It’s okay – everyone makes mistakes. The real test is in how you handle it.
At the end of the day, as a manager, you are the one that gets to write the official version of what happened, but your sales reps will remember
6. Are you a good listener?
Effective communications is just as much about listening as it is talking. Good managers are good listeners. Becoming a sales manager means listening to complaints and distilling them into the core irritation to address.
You want your sales reps to feel like they are heard and understood. Of course, it’s a balancing act between making your sales reps happy and making the Powers That Be happy.
7. Are you ready to give up selling?
There’s nothing quite like the rush of hearing a ‘yes’ from a prospect. It can be an addictive feeling. This is a question that is really important, but can get looked over in the excitement of becoming a sales manager.
A sales manager might have ‘sales’ in the title, but it’s not selling.
Is Becoming a Sales Manager Right For You?
If you said a resounding, “Yes!” to all of these questions, you’re ready to become a sales manager. Congratulations!
If not, maybe you would be happier staying a superstar sales rep (there’s nothing wrong with that).
If you do decide to pursue becoming a sales manager, here are a few tips to start off your new position on the right foot:
Remember it’s lonely at the top.
This is especially true if you’re transitioning to leading a team you used to be a part of, but managers will always be a step apart from the rest of team.
Your relationships with your old teammates will change – as it must. Acknowledging this and setting meetings individually with each person can help establish new boundaries and expectations moving forward.
Just like sales reps should ABC (always be closing), sales managers should ABR (always be recruiting). You never know when you’ll find your next great closer so keep your eye out, even if your organization isn’t hiring.
Create a sense of team pride.
Your sales reps often won’t have many chances to interact with each other in the office so create plenty of opportunity out of the office for your team to get to know each other and create friendships and trust.
Learn to prioritize.
Being a manager is a constantly dance on shifting sand. Meetings will take up huge portions of your day and the rest will be wrangling paperwork, creating reports, or putting out fires. Know what’s important and what can slide.
Get ready to wear a lot of shoes.
Learning the lessons that everyone needs to be managed differently is invaluable and will serve you in every position you have after this one.
Walking a mile in each person shoes and understanding their point of view will go a long way to creating a happy, motivated team.
Do you have a tip for becoming a sales manager? Let us know in the comments.