3 questions you must ask yourself before applying for a Sales Manager Role
Updated: Feb 23
Most of the sales representatives I’ve worked with over the years have great aspirations to become the sales manager one day. Seen as the logical ‘next step’ after cutting your teeth in the trenches, the thought of finally coming off the tools and guiding other people to hit the revenue targets seems like a very appealing role to jump into.
But what many don’t realise, is that life as a manger is not suddenly easier when you’re not responsible for selling 9-5. In fact, the level of responsibility that comes with such a position is often too much for them to handle.
Before applying for your first or next sales manager role, here are three important questions you need to answer to understand if it’s really the right move for you.
Are you a positive person?
Positivity breeds positivity and a team will not respond well to someone who has frequent bad days. As the manager of your team, people will look up to you and expect to be inspired and motivated by your leadership, especially when sales are not on track or the team may be having a bad month. Your enthusiasm, optimism and recognition of their hard work and efforts must be regular and consistent.
Let’s think about your current sales manager or a previous leader you worked under. What did you like about the way they manage? More to the point, what did you dislike about them?
Taking some time to think about this and what kind of leader you want to be is a great exercise to do before you consider applying for the next role. That way, when it comes to interviewing you’ll be able to explain exactly what kind of leader you will be if successful.
Do you like to problem solve?
On any given day as a sales manager it is likely there’ll be a few fires to put out or multiple questions to field. How do you respond under pressure? Can you take control and lead the team to find the right solution to the problem? Are you confident in handling uncomfortable and difficult situations?
A sales rep, more often than not, will not take the time to try and solve their problems by themselves. If I had a dollar for every time I heard my name called followed by, ‘I don’t know what to do here’ or ‘how should I handle this’ I’d have retired many, many years ago!
You’ll need to exercise patience and understanding to help coach your team to the right decision and also, assist with strengthening their skills so that they can learn to operate more autonomously where possible.
Can you give (and take) feedback well?
One of the toughest parts of managing is learning how to communicate effectively with your team. The most successful leaders coach their team on a weekly basis and provide guidance by asking exploratory questions to enable them to arrive at their own answers. There will be times, however, when you need to give direct feedback or advice about a specific issue or situation and this must be done in an understanding and considerate way.
Getting straight to the point can be a dangerous approach to take as this can leave the person feeling upset and despondent. Your approach will need to be considered, think ‘compliment sandwich’, focusing on what has been going well first before heading into the tough part of the conversation. A skill many take months, or years, to master.
There will also be times of course where you will receive feedback from both your line manager and your team itself. Are you able to take constructive criticism well? This is something you’ll need to be prepared for as your role requires you to manage both up and down. The transition from co-worker to leader can be challenging for many, especially if you are promoted from within.
If you don’t feel your skill set is equipped to deal with situations like these yet, don’t panic. Just because you don’t feel ready now doesn’t mean you won’t be in the future. Pick an area today and make a conscious effort to start learning and working on it and you’ll soon start to see a change in your behaviour.
As a 26 year old promoted to management with little to no training, I had to very quickly learn how to manage a team effectively to get the best results and let me tell you, it wasn’t easy. If I could wind back the clock, I definitely would have spent more time working on my management style so I could get it right from the start!
To learn more about how to manage a team that thrives, download my FREE EBOOK today to hear my top tips for getting it right first time.