Are you a sales manager or a sales leader? You ask what the difference is. If you don’t know, then you are probably a sales manager.
Throughout the years, we have referenced sales managers as “managing” their sales talent and getting the maximum production from their team. But is that what they are really doing? In some sense, yes it is. They do manage the account allocation, time allocation, budgetary concerns, territory divisions, routing maps and various other rudimentary tasks that come under that title umbrella.
However, LEADING someone takes on a whole different meaning. Leading someone to achievement involves mentoring them, motivating them, helping them and being a constant cheerleader for them on a daily basis.
Think back on the greatest leaders in corporate America today and you will find they lead people to greatness- they didn’t “manage” them to greatness. Lee Iococca, Ted Welch and many other renowned business leaders have written best-sellers on how to be the best “leader” in your field.
Sales management isn’t an easy business and not for the faint of heart. You are the buffer between corporate revenue goals and your road warriors out on the street every day with constant rejection. Yes, even the best sales professionals get told NO and they learn to deal with it. It isn’t easy and it takes finesse but they do it. Because they know that with enough NO’s, they will eventually get to the YES’s. As the Sales Manager (leader), you help them get back up and go out there to get that next deal. You don’t “manage” them, you lead them on to victory! That’s what you do because you are a SALES LEADER.
Leading with encouragement and being positive is the best gift you can give to your sales team. If you have hired correctly, which is a whole other article, your people will respond accordingly and produce for you. The old days of leading with intimidation and negative reinforcement are long gone. It may work for a brief period but never in the long run.
Being a Sales Leader instead of a Sales Manager is a mindset. There are countless books on the subject in the marketplace and numerous sales trainers available to help you increase your leadership skills. Invest in yourself and your sales team and attend a workshop or read a book on the topic today!
By John Hester