As I was traveling a few weeks ago on a sales training tour, I got asked a question that I find myself thinking a lot about. What do you look for in a good sales manager? I answered the question based on my many years experience as a sales manager and also as someone who has hired them. However, after returning home and thinking more about the question and how I answered it, I have begun to challenge my own thinking and that of the position.
I think we need to stop hiring sales managers. Now before you think that I have lost my mind, hear me out. I am not saying we need to do away with the position, but only that we begin to view it differently. Today, I offer up that we need to stop hiring managers and begin to hire sales coaches. Let me attempt to explain my reasoning.
The number one thing every business needs from a sales manager is someone to lead a sales team. A manager often manages things and tasks, but does not always stay focused on the team. We need coaches who encourage, motivate and lead. We need people in this position who understand that the only way they can be successful is to help other people find success. Experience has shown me that managers tend to focus too much on spreadsheets and internal tasks. They spend too much time standing on the shore instructing salespeople how to row the boat. The best ones get in the boat and coach them how to do it. Whether in sales or sports, the most successful coaches lead. They instruct. They motivate! They invest the majority of their time on the things that have the most impact on the team and it's members.
The best leaders of salespeople coach. So, maybe we should eliminate the position of sales manager and start hiring more sales coaches. Coaches lead people and managers manage things.
Let's change the narrative and enjoy more victories. Swagger On Friends!
This was written by Derron Steenbergen, President of the Swagger Institute
The Swagger Institute is a full service business development company specializing in sales and leadership trainging, motivational speaking, customer service training and organizational consulting.