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Whose Job Are You Doing?

by David Brock on July 28th, 2015
Leadership 02

Mike Weinberg wrote a terrific post in the series we are doing at Openview Labs site.  The post, Your #1 Priority As A Sales Manager (Plus 3 Things To Stop Doing) is brilliant.  One quote stands out:  “Your job as the sales leader is to ensure your sales team produces results, not do the work!”

Too often, I see sales managers who are actually doing the sales people’s jobs, not their jobs as sales manager.

Some of it is the result of misguided sales managers playing Super Salesperson.  You know those types of managers.  The one’s that feel no one can touch their abilities as sales person, so they sweep in to close deals, rescue deals that don’t need to be rescuing, or shoving the sales people to the side and taking over deals.  It’s not only demoralizing and disempowering to the sales people; it’s wrong for the people and the business because every minute a sales manager plays Super Salesperson is a minute spent not doing their jobs.

The sales person’s responsibility is to manage their territories, maximizing their share of business and growth in the territory, assuring they hit their goals.  As such, they have to prospect, qualify, and manage deals through the sales process.  They have to make sure they are working a sufficient number of deals to have a healthy pipeline.  They are responsible for putting in place the right deal, prospecting, pipeline management, and deal strategies.  They have the responsibility of engaging the resources necessary to achieve their goals in the territory.

Those things are the sales person’s job, not the sales manager’s job.  So if the sales manager is doing those things—it means at least two people aren’t doing their jobs.

By contrast, the sales manager’s job is quite different.  At it’s core, it’s to maximize the performance of each person on the team and of the team as a whole.  The things managers are responsible for, as a result, are quite different than what the sales person does.

The core elements of the sales manager’s job are about Leadership, Strategy, Business Management, People, Coaching.*  These are quite different than the sales person’s job.  The leadership/strategy pieces focus on culture, values, go to customer strategies, overall company positioning, deployment strategies and assuring the sales team are equipped and able to execute the company strategies with target customers.  The strategy/business management piece focuses on the right resources, processes, systems, tools, training, metrics, incentives, programs, and support are in place for the sales people to execute the company strategies.  The people element is focused on clearly defining roles, responsibilities, competencies, behaviors, attitudes critical for success in each sales role (field, inside, pre-sales, support, sales enablement, etc.), recruiting, hiring, onboarding and managing performance.  The coaching element of the manager’s job is working with each person, maximizing their ability to perform in the job and developing them to take on bigger responsibilities in the future.

For example, the sales manager cannot and should not develop and execute deal strategies.  However, the sales manager’s job is to make sure the sales person understands the elements of a winning deal strategy and that they are trained in how to develop and execute these strategies.  The sales manager has the responsibility for inspecting deal strategies, coaching the sales person in how to strengthen their strategy and better execute it.

The jobs and responsibilities of sales people and sales managers (and everyone else in the organization) are distinct and different.

Each person has to perform at the highest level in their own jobs—they don’t have the time or responsibility to do someone else’s job.

If manager’s try to step in and do the job their sales people are accountable for, then they aren’t doing their job as manager and they aren’t letting their people do their jobs.

If the organization is to perform, each person must be accountable for and performing at the highest levels in their respective jobs–not doing what they want to do or someone else’s job.

If, as a manager, your passion, where you want to spend your time, where you have the most fun is doing deals–then by all means do it–but as a sales person!

* Our free Sales Management Operating Framework outlines this at a much deeper level.  Email me at for a free copy.  Please provide your full name, company, company email address.

Book CoverFor a free peek at Sales Manager Survival Guide, click the picture or link.  You’ll get the Table of Contents, Foreword, and 2 free Chapters.  Free Sample

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  1. Russ permalink

    Several of the links in this post appear to be pointing to the wrong locations. For example ” Your #1 Priority As A Sales Manager (Plus 3 Things To Stop Doing” actually points to a member’s profile page and not the posting it refers to.

    • Russ, thanks very much. Somehow those links got changed, (which has me a little concerned), but I’ll correct them.

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