Recently, one of the awesome women in #GirlsClub shared that she wanted to move all the way up the sales ladder before trying management. She wanted to be credible to her future team. She had also learned the hard way that just because she could DO sales didn’t mean she could TEACH sales. I was so freaking proud of her at that moment. She knew her strengths and she was not blindly reaching for the promotion. It also gave me pause.
Do we need to do every role in sales before managing? I didn’t. I sold for a short time and then leap-frogged into sales (see my story here).
Truth is, management is not a fit for everyone – regardless of your sales prowess. In fact, maybe because of your sales prowess. I’ve seen top reps make horrible managers and “B” reps be amazing coaches.
It’s really more about your natural behaviors and values than skills. Our (amaaaazing) Marketing Director at Factor 8 is very actively NOT seeking a management role. My bestie says the same thing, “Hell no! Life is better when I’m in charge of my own destiny and not in charge of anyone else’s crap.” My bestie may have a mouth like mine. 😉
So if you’re wondering, “Is sales management right for me?”, start by asking yourself a few questions:
- Am I a natural teacher? If you love mentoring the new kid, lending a helping hand, and being shadowed, this is absolutely your first clue that management is a good direction.
- Does answering lots of questions annoy me? If your daily highlight is being the go-to person, it’s another good clue. (In contrast, my bestie says, “Stop freaking Slacking me! Figure it out yourself! What am I, your mom!?” Not so much someone who’ll love management…)
- How important is control to me? This one’s a double-edged sword. Most great managers have a high “D” factor in the DISC assessment or “A” factor in Predictive Index. Those behavior traits that say things like, “driver, in charge, authoritative, assertive” (in my case…competitive, pioneering, sometimes arrogant. Wait, what?!) When you strive to lead, actually having the title really helps. You feel more in charge of your own destiny and less likely to go crazy based on what “they” are doing above.
Flipside: As a manager, you actually have LESS control over your daily life, workload, task list, end results, and paycheck. You’re basically being judged by and paid on the average performer on your team. If that last sentence gave you hives, keep driving your own sales car; don’t trade it in for the sales school bus.
If you’re still not sure if sales management is right for you, join me (or watch the recording) for a free session on “Tips To Get Promoted To Sales Manager” where I’ll share my top tips to help you determine if management is meant for you and, if it is, how to get that promotion.