A sales manager is there to lead, not sell

By Brian Thompson,

Being promoted from salesperson to sales manager is a difficult transition. It can be overwhelming to move from a position that depends solely on individual performance to one that requires motivating an entire team toward success. Many managers, new ones especially, struggle to get out of the salesperson mindset long after they've been promoted and end up doing a good portion of the sales work. This, however, is a habit that must be broken.

The pitfalls of selling for your team
When managers take on the work their employees are supposed to do, the entire team suffers. Hubspot acknowledged the frustration a manager must feel when watching a salesperson struggle through a sale the manager could easily complete. Nevertheless, taking the task over prevents that salesperson from ever learning how to do it on their own. When this happens, the salesperson will continue to make the same mistakes because the rep never gets the opportunity to work through their weaknesses and improve. Business2Community explained that a manager who continues to step in and solve problems for their team will easily become stressed and frustrated. They will find themselves fixing the same problems over and over again because no one is learning how to solve these problems on their own. Beyond that, Hubspot said the manager also suffers because they don't focus on developing their own managerial skills. When a manager is so focused on making sales, they may not recognize weaknesses in the team's overall sales strategy and fail to improve as a leader.

What managers should do instead 
It may seem counterproductive, but making sales should not be a sales manager's first priority. Instead, a manager's focus should be on developing the skills of her team, which in turn will result in increased sales. One way sales managers can improve employee performance is with sales compensation software. With this software, commissions are transparent by enabling all participants in the commission process to gain full visibility into the factors that impact payments. Sales managers can use this tool as motivation because sales reps always know how they're performing to commission goals. One of the most difficult things for a manager is letting her employees make mistakes, but according to Hubspot, it is one of the best tactics a manager can take. While it may temporarily reduce sales, it will grow your employees skills and confidence and strengthen the team's performance in the end.

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Brian Thompson