All salespeople dream of making it to management. Why not? It’s normal to consider moving into the corner office after years and sometimes decades of searching for new business.
Some people find it easy to move from being a salesperson to being a supervisor. They recruit, train, and manage salespeople with the same success as their front-line producers. There is some learning curve for most. It’s sometimes more challenging to deal with sales staff than it is managing an extensive customer database.
If you approach the situation correctly,
sales management can be a good career path. These are seven tips to help you make the transition from superstar producer to sales manager.
Do not hide in the office. It’s tempting to let your sales team do their job while you relax, but the best sales managers go out into the field every day. You can only learn where your salespeople excel, where they need to improve, and what feedback customers really give about your products.
Refrain from micromanaging.
Sales managers must give their teams the space to develop and grow. This is a problem that is often overlooked. Your strong selling skills probably earned you a promotion. Your department will suffer if you are constantly taking over sales situations. Instead, share what you know with your sales team and allow them to learn on their own. Although they might not be as successful selling your product right away, their long-term gains will far outweigh any short-term losses.
Learn more about management.
Remember the second part of your job title. You can’t just be a great salesperson. To make an impact on your team, you must also be a good leader. You are now your producers. Learn how to manage them and make sure they have a healthy bottom line. You’ll need to practice selling efficiently, just as you did to learn to trade.
Know the numbers of your industry and business.
You will need to be able to see your selling and your department as an executive if you want to succeed in your job. This means looking at the numbers, such as the margins of what you sell, the source of your profits and losses, and the closing ratios of your staff.
Invest in your salespeople.
You want to build a team of top-producing salespeople who are able to continue selling at a high level without any guidance or input from you. You can only get there if you continue to develop the salespeople you already have. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on them; it is an investment in your future profits.
Your sales team deserves your support.
You probably can think of several times when your upper management required you to do something or sell something that was impossible. You can help your sales team by standing up for them and not putting them in the exact same position. You will earn respect from your producers for asking them not to do something that you can’t. And you won’t have to explain to senior executives why it didn’t work out later.
You can have a fulfilling life outside of the office.
Some managers take it easy, while others become too involved in their job. A good manager, like a sales rep, is someone who takes the time to reflect and relax outside of work.
Carl-Henry is a management consulting expert. He is a management consultant who specializes in helping companies select top sales and customer service talent. Carl is also a Certified Speaking Professional, the author of numerous books and articles on sales, customer service, and sales management. He hosts webinars and seminars for clients around the world.