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Moving Up the Ladder to Sales Management
After paying your dues in the trenches, or what you think is enough time paying your dues, you want to move up to sales management. How do you go about it and how do you get noticed as a potential sales manager and leader without alienating your co-workers or seeming arrogant?
Tips for Moving Up the Ladder
- Know what the new role really is, not what you think it is or might be. A sales management job is not a sales job. This is why the best sales people don’t always make the best sales managers. They are two entirely different jobs, not just a larger version of the same sales job.
- Build you circle of support and mentorship. You will need your mentor more once you take the job than you did before you were offered it. You need support and you need someone who will always be there for you. Give this person the authority to call you out and demand that you are honest with yourself along the way. They will support you no matter what.
- Be passionate about the work, but learn to use data rather than emotion to motivate. Even if you fail you will still have data – you will still have a result that your team can learn from. Without sacrificing your passion and belief, leave your emotion at the door.
- Set a realistic timetable for success – training your team and yourself. Your first role will be to train yourself on how to be a manager and then train your staff to meet the very realistic sales goals that you will set for them. In your first year especially be very clear about the goals and your expectations. Assign goals to each member of your team based on their strengths and weaknesses.
- Develop management, leadership and coaching skills, not sales skills. You might want to go out once a quarter or so and sell in order to keep your hand in the game, know your product and understand the current sales climate that your staff is working in. However you never close a sale for your salesman. Let him/her do it for themselves.
- Remember you are a manager not a salesman. You are a coach not a player. It is your job to motivate not to do, to listen and put the needs of your staff first. Of course you have to know your product, but never show up your staff for the sake of your ego.
- Rejection is the name of the game in sales and you had plenty as a rep. Help your team to deal with it and stay motivated. Stretch, but be realistic in your goal setting. You want your staff to reach the goals just not too easily.
If you set your sights high with the knowledge that it is going to take a while to reach them, if you hire good people and go out of your way to know them, teach them and coach them, understand them and motivate them, you will be a great sales manager.