You’ve just gotten promoted. You’ve moved from being an individual contributor to managing a team. As you reflect on what do you do in your new role? How do you transition from being a great sales person into being a great sales manager.
The mistake, though completely logical and understandable, is to think, “What made me successful in the past? What got me here?” This is followed by the logical conclusion of, “I need to do more of the same!”
It’s perfectly natural to think this way. But it’s a huge mistake. The job of sales manager is different. The things that made us successful in the past, are not necessarily the things that will cause us to be successful in the new role.
Our personal ability to successfully manage and close deals made us successful as individual contributors. But that probably isn’t the most important in the new role. As manager, you aren’t responsible for managing the deal strategy, it’s your people’s responsibility (remember your old job, the one that got you here).
As manager, it’s not your responsibility to manage the deals, to make the numbers. That’s the responsibility of your people. Your job has transformed, it’s maximizing the performance of each person on your team.
You don’t do this by doing the deal, but rather coaching them, help them think about what they are doing, what’s their strategy, how they might improve it. You do this may making sure they have the right skills, tools, systems, processes, and training to perform at the highest levels. You do this by getting them the support and resources they need to be successful.
The job of a sales manager is different from that of a sales person. Doing the things you did to be a successful sales person are not the things critical to being a high performing sales manager.
The jobs are different, a sales manager is not just a super sales person. A sales manager is responsible for making sure she has the right people in place to do the job and they can perform at the highest levels possible. The sales manager is responsible for converting the company strategies into execution through the sales team.
If, as a new sales manager, you continue to do the things that made you successful in the past, you will fail–yourself, your people, and your company.
So you’ve been named as a new sales manager. What do you do? First, sit down with your manager and make sure you understand what the job is. Make sure you understand how the job is different from what you did as a sales person. Study, read, get some training (Sales Manager Survival Guide is a great start). Look at other great sales manager, talk to them about what the job is and how you can be an outstanding sales manager.
You may have gotten the job because you were a great sales person, congratulations. If you keep doing those things, then you aren’t doing your job (and you deserve to be moved out of management, back into sales.).