Sales Manager or Salesperson?

You’ve been promoted to Sales Manager, but you want to keep some accounts. Or, your boss says you need to keep some accounts. Either way; it’s a bad idea.

Here are a just a couple of really bad situations you can find yourself in:

You’ve been with the company forever. You know all the accounts. The new salesperson in the territory is struggling a little. She’s doing okay, but not great. You make a few joint sales calls with her and all of sudden you are back in the saddle. Customers are calling you and you are making more sales calls, sometimes without the territory salesperson. She’s upset and you can’t understand why? Really?

Situation number two. You get promoted (congratulations!) and keep some accounts or worse yet, an entire territory. This is a problem. You can do one of the two jobs well, or both poorly. They are both full time jobs and you are trying to be super human.

Eventually, this becomes a formula for frustration, if not disaster. You, the sales manager/super salesperson, become THE problem and everything begins to revolve around you. Achieving team goals, growing and mentoring your salespeople, all become secondary. Worse yet; forgotten.

Your boss (or you) may think this is a way to save money. Give that some deeper thought. You won’t have time to adequately coach your team members because you are demonstrating your superior sales skills daily. Your salespeople are left to their own devices and don’t get the coaching and mentoring they need. Their performance goes flat. You, as sales manager get frustrated and engage in “drive by” sales management. Your accounts/territory begin to suffer from lack of attention. Now you find yourself in an epic lose/lose situation; both your territory and overall sales fail to reach growth goals.

If you love the accolades being Super Salesperson and thrill of getting the order, then be the rock star salesperson. Go for it.

If you want to mentor salespeople, watch them grow and succeed. If you take great pride in leading a team of rock stars, then be the sales manager. It’s wonderfully rewarding.

But, don’t kid yourself into thinking you are the one in a thousand who can do both successfully.

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