Becoming A Manager Series – Part 1

September 29, 2020

Over the next few weeks, I am going to release a series specifically to help people who are considering going into a sales managerial role. It’s time to evaluate the good and the bad, position yourself for the role, prepare for the role, interview for and perform well in the role.

There are a lot of considerations that need to be made prior to becoming a manager. As a manager, you are no longer just responsible for your own performance. You now have to take ownership of other people’s development and ultimately their livelihood.

This is not a not a decision you should take lightly, but if you are looking to challenge yourself and are dedicated to helping others grow, this is an incredibly fulfilling career path.

Part 1: Why and why not to be a manager.

Why are you in sales? Obviously, we all need a way to make money, but out of all the careers you could have chosen or paths you could have gone down, why did you choose sales?

  • Is it because you like the chase and the rush of getting a win?
  • Is it because you gain satisfaction helping the people you’re selling to?
  • Is it because the paycheck is bigger than other career paths you could have gone down?

The reason you go into management will likely be different than the reason you went into sales. Management is not for everyone and you can make an amazing career for yourself being an individual contributor in sales. You can move to different types of sales roles in different industries and make a boat load of money doing it. You will also only be responsible for hitting your quota. There is a lot of freedom to that and there is zero shame in being an individual contributor. Know that.

If you are thinking you want to go into management because:

  • You are tired of selling.
  • You think it will be less work.
  • It’s simply the next step in your career.

You are not going to have a good time being a manager. Leading people is challenging physically, mentally and emotionally and you need to personally get something out of seeing people succeed and hate seeing them fail. If you don’t feel that, your people will know.

If you do want to go into management, you need to have a clear vision of what your reasons are. As a manager, you are no longer responsible for just yourself. You are now responsible for the growth and development of a group of people and your decisions will influence whether or not those people succeed or fail. Beyond your sales acumen, you need to be able to lead people, motivate them, have hard conversations with them when they are not performing, be a coach, be a teacher, be a therapist, manage team dynamics, hold people accountable, help people manage their pipelines, have a deep understanding of KPI’s and how to use them…. The list goes on.

Many of the people who become great managers are not always elite salespeople. Most great managers are passionate about helping people first and foremost. Helping people requires a lot of empathy and being empathetic should not be confused with coddling people. A lot of times it means being very direct about what people are doing wrong and what will happen if they don’t fix it. You can’t be afraid of challenging people because…. well, that’s your job. Get comfortable with that.

If all of this sounds like a challenge you are ready and willing to take on, fantastic. This will be an incredible challenge, but for those who are able to figure it out you will literally help people to achieve their goals and dreams, grow professionally and personally and have an impact on people’s lives.

That’s why you should go into management.

If you’re still on the fence, think through the reasons you’re considering management and whether or not you are willing to accept the challenges and the pressure.

Next week, we will talk about how to carve a path to get a management role.