I’m Not a Sales Manager

A few months ago, I noticed that @Chris_Snell retweeted one of my posts. I poked around and noticed that he also followed very cool people like Trish Bertuzzi and @damphoux. I looked at his LinkedIn profile and learned that he works at Care.com. We spoke and the bottom line is that Chris wrote one of the best articles that I’ve ever read on how a sales manager should spend their day. Here it is in his own words. Enjoy!

I’m not a sales manager. Well, technically, I am…at least that’s what is says on my business card. I don’t like to think of myself that way, though. I’ve got a bad connotation with the title, so I don’t go by it. I think of someone who’s barking demands with a fear-inducing leadership style. Never knowing if a job is secure or not, just yelling at people to do more.

When I sit in and listen in on calls with one of my reps, I’ve got a lot of things going on through my head. I’m really curious about what their prospect is going to say, but I’m much more concerned with how my rep delivers their message. Can they articulate what we do? Are they listening to the prospect? Can they handle objections on the fly? Can they build quick rapport? Were they prepared? And then once that call is over, I want to get their feedback on how they thought the call went. What worked? What didn’t? How can you improve? How can I help you improve? All this and we’ve only made one phone call! You see, I don’t really think of myself of a sales manager; really what I’m doing is coaching. I’m trying to make someone better today than they were yesterday.

People have different personalities, and that shows up in sales reps just like it does anywhere else. I need to know what makes one person tick over another. I need to know whether someone needs me to set the bar higher for them, or get down in the trenches with them and help them get out of a hole they dug. Monday’s come around like clockwork, and I want to start the week off with a word to my team that is both a kick in the ass and a pick me up. I need to know if it’s money, material items, or more time out of the office that gets my peoples engines revving. When I figure those out, I need to be able to put goals in front of them that make them stretch for their betterment. I guess you can call that being a sales manager, but I think of myself more of a motivator.

My reps time is really valuable to them, and it has to be even more valuable to me. Invites to internal meetings, issues of customer service that they’re not as equipped to handle as our customer service team may be, and requests from colleagues that take them away from their sales efforts – all of these things are distractions, and it’s really my job to keep my reps free from them. You’re in sales, you understand the necessity of hitting your goals, whether you need to hit monthly or quarterly sales goals, you know that any time off of the phone building relationships and prospecting affects you financially. If I’m not able to help keep my reps from these types of diversions, they’re going to feel it, and ultimately, so will the business. You see, I don’t really think of myself as a sales manager, but rather a guardian. I need to guard my team’s time so that they can focus on their goals.

There’s so much more that I need to do that isn’t necessarily encompassed by my title, but like I said, technically, I’m a sales manager. It even says so on my business card.

So, what do you think? You want more from Chris? Ask a question n the comments?

6 thoughts on “I’m Not a Sales Manager

  1. Hi Rick, I think that what Chris describes is exactly what being a sales manager is all about. Finding ways to coach your team and remove barriers so they can hit their goals. In if needed, deliver the occasional motivational Monday meeting. I suspect Chris has a very happy and successful team!

    Great post!

  2. David, as I mentioned above, I agree with you. I think that in many cases, sales managers miss the mark as a coach and motivator, both in the amount of time spent and the effectiveness of their effort. A sales manager that can effectively coach and motivate their team may compensate for many other issues. That being said, there are times when a sales manager needs to hold a member of his team accountable for a specific level of performance.

    Also, if you read my blog regularly, you’ll recognize that I’m an advocate of salespeople being holistically self supporting by developing an on-line presence that supports if not replaces lead development and marketing.

  3. The two SHOULD become one. The more marketers that realize this and that we are all in sales and adapt accordingly, the less they will be worried about their jobs. Why do you think it is that most sales managers miss the coaching and motivating mark?

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