The Selling Sales Manager has the dual responsibility of achieving a personal sales quota while managing other salespeople. This differs from a typical Sales Manager who goes on sales calls with their reps to help close a sale or coach to improve performance. Just like the salespeople they manage, they must acquire new accounts and achieve certain sales goals each month.
This type of Sales Manager can be attractive to some organizations. For example, they work effectively for start-ups, small companies, or new divisions where a customer base needs to be established in order to get sales to fund hiring new reps.
In this case, the primary role of the Selling Sales Manager in the short-term is to be a salesperson. As the company or division develops, the Selling Sales Manager moves into a more traditional Sales Manager role. They focus on managing, training, and coaching. The Selling Sales Manager will either eliminate their sales quota or have the new reps absorb it into their own quotas. The quicker the transition can happen, the more likely the team is to see success and achieve maximum results.
Offices or divisions that remain small by design may never make this transition. Therefore, the Selling Sales Manager continues to produce revenue on their own and they lend their support and expertise to their sales team as needed.
So what are the challenges for a Selling Sales Manager?
Challenge #1: Time
Time spent selling is time away from other duties like training, observing, coaching, or supporting salespeople. They may not have the time to establish an effective process or the systems necessary to run an effective sales team.
This can result in poor sales hires and lackluster performances from team members. Other unwanted results include ineffective coaching, lack of accountability, and the inability to achieve certain sales targets. If this is the case for you, dedicate a specific number of hours each week to supporting your sales team. Doing so reduces redundant sales issue from occurring and elevates the performance of the overall team.
Challenge #2: Priorities
This is about personal income and motivation. If it’s more lucrative for a Selling Sales Manager to sell than it is for them to benefit from helping the other salespeople sell, then they will most likely spend their time selling instead of coaching and developing their sales team. This focus on personal success can also make it easy to drift away from management responsibilities. They may not be equipped or patient enough to handle building and coaching a team.
In this case, you may want to set some boundaries. Determine what you can and will do for your salespeople in order to achieve team goals. For example, you may be willing to help land a deal, but not go on prospecting calls. You might communicate sales tips via email instead of holding a weekly sales meeting.
Challenge #3: Growth
In most cases, your goal as a Sales Manager is growth. Realistically, the Selling Sales Manager is usually not the ideal long-term strategy for growth. The ideal approach for an organization looking to grow is to establish a goal for achieving a specific sales threshold. After that, the Selling Sales Manager can begin adding new sales reps to expand the territory, acquire more clients and grow sales. Then the Selling Sales Manager can transition into a Pure Growth or Maintenance Sales Manager role.
Be sure that you and your boss agree on the expectations of this dual sales/SalesManager role. You don’t want to get caught in a job where expectations have not been well-defined. You don’t want to accept more responsibility than allows for you to sell and make money.