LEADERSHIP SERIES: Research suggests that Sales Leadership is the difference maker between good performance and superior performance. And how sales leaders embrace five essential roles is critical to the success of their teams. We hope you find this series of short informal discussions around sales leadership useful and thought-provoking.
Finding a Cure for the Stressed-Out Sales Manager
When high-performing sales reps make the transition to management, it’s usually with visions of record profits, big bonuses, and a sense of unlimited career opportunities floating through their mind. What they typically don’t think about is the reality that so often awaits them: early mornings spent shuffling paperwork, long hours in the office after everyone else has gone home, and evenings spent catching up on e-mails they couldn’t get to during the day.
In other words, being stressed-out and short on time.
If this sounds like you, know that you aren’t alone. Right now, in offices and sales departments all around the world, thousands of others are having the same thought. Some are second-guessing their decision to move from producer to supervisor; others are downright regretting it.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other options. The truth is, a lot of the problems we have as sales managers are those we’ve created for ourselves. We didn’t do it consciously, of course, but through process of poor or inefficient decisions, we lead ourselves into a lifestyle of stress, deadlines, and the day-to-day feeling of dread.
Here are four possible cures for the stressed-out sales manager:
Let go of the idea that you have to be in control. Your sales team is probably never going to do things the way you would, but that doesn’t mean they can’t meet and exceed your hopes and expectations. Focus on putting them in positions to win, rather than trying to control their style and schedule.
Think like a coach, not a manager. A coach inspires your best performance, while a manager gives orders until you produce something that is satisfactory. Which one do you think your sales team needs? Learn to encourage and teach, and establish the environment for them to succeed – when you do, the results will take care of themselves.
Get your sales staff more involved. Training, conducting sales meetings, and getting feedback are just a few of the areas you can have your producers share the load. Encourage them to share what they know and build each other up. It’s as good for their confidence and team spirit as it is your schedule.
Learn to be a better recruiter. Ultimately, a lot of the ease or difficulty of your job is going to come down to the men and women that are part of your team. Bear that in mind and get better at finding winners. As the months and years roll by, you’ll have fewer and fewer salespeople who bring you stress.
It’s easy to become stressed out and overwhelmed as a sales manager, but it’s not the only way to do things. Follow these tips to become a catalyst and sales leader for your staff –your bank account and blood pressure will thank you later.
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