The 8 Hardest Things About Being a Sales Manager


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Most people don’t grow up saying “when I’m older, I want to be a sales manager”.

It’s not always glamorous. It’s not always easy. And you don’t necessarily take home a huge bonus every month.

A role as a sales manager can feel like all guts, no glory. You’re responsible for a team of reps, and have a quota you have to hit. Every month. Every quarter. Every year. (Thank goodness there is now a Proactive CRM, like Spiro, that can help your sales team crush their quota!)

It can be a draining job at time.

When everything goes right, who gets the credit? Often the sales reps who close the big deals.

And when everything goes wrong, all fingers point towards the manager.

But we know that having great sales management is essential for companies to grow, which is why being a sales manager, although hard, is one of the most important jobs out there.

Here are the 8 hardest things about being a sales manager:

1. Motivating Your Team

Let’s face it, if your reps aren’t closing deals, then you aren’t getting paid. As a sales manager, your paycheck is directly related to the success of your team.

So it’s your job, no matter how hard it is, to keep the team motivated to make their calls and keep the sales coming in. On the flip side, once you hit quota, you can all celebrate your successes as a team. One for all, and all for one!

2. Forecasting

Sales forecasting is a vital part to any well run sales team. Managers have to know what deals their reps are working on, and then be able to correctly project what deals will come in, for what amount, and when. However, it can be hard for managers to produce an accurate forecast.

To alleviate some of the pain, try using a CRM that helps produce forecasting reports with ease.

3. Being Understaffed

If a company wants to grow, they have to have a fully staffed sales team to get out there and sell their product. But time and time again, I hear sales managers complain that their company is not investing in salespeople.

A sales manager’s job is hard when they are always fighting for the appropriate headcount they need to get their quota met. Sit down with decision makers and lay the numbers in front of them, backing up your firm stance on how many reps you need to get to the benchmarks they have set.

4. Onboarding New Reps

Some sales managers think onboarding a new sales rep is HR’s job, not theirs. However, getting a salesperson up to speed takes time and energy. The sales manager has to be involved in the process, no matter how hard they think it may be.

You can make this easier by viewing each rep as in important investment for your company, and setting aside dedicate time to sit down and hit the phones with your new hires. Let them see a pro do it, and you’ll both benefit in the long run.

5. Weekly One-on-Ones

A successful relationship between a rep and a manager has to include a weekly check-in. These meetings give you a chance to help your reps go after their best deals, set priorities and make sense of their pipeline.

For a salesperson, they only have one of these meetings a week. However, life is much harder for the manager. Especially for a great sales manager who diligently meets with each rep, even if that means 10 one-on-ones meetings a week!

There isn’t an easy way around dodging these meetings, but you can make them less painful by setting up meaningful dashboards and analyzing data driven reports prior to sitting down in person.

6. Knowing that You’ll Make Less Than Your Top Reps

Your sales reps’ compensation is typically made up of a blend of base and commission. If your plan is leaning heavily towards the commission side, then if a sales rep really crushes their quota, they are going to be paid handsomely. And they deserve it.

It’s a hard thing to swollen – your top reps making more than you. But, you actually want them to make as much money as possible, since it means more profit for the company. And this in turn hopefully equates into company cash flow allowing you to hire more amazing sales reps.

7. Upper Management

Mid-level sales managers are the go betweens to relay messages from upper management to their team, and vice versa. Unfortunately, not all managers feel like they can voice their opinion to C-level suite, and this leaves their voice unheard, and a bit frustrated.

The hard part for the sales manager is to keep an upbeat tone when talking about the VP of Sales, and never say “and this message is coming from upper management”. Although the manager may think this puts them and their reps on the same “against the man” team, all it does is create an us versus them attitude within their own company. As hard as it is, speak highly of all your coworkers!

8. The Sheer Number of Accounts to Juggle

As technology advances, so does the expectation that productivity will also advance. Now will virtually everyone using a CRM, enhancements to lead generation tools, and the introduction of artificial intelligence, sales reps are more efficient and effective than ever before. Which means, each salesperson can handle more accounts.

If the portfolio for every rep on your team has increased, then multiple that by the number of reps you manage, and… that’s a lot of responsibility for you, as a sales manager.

Your job is getting harder, but there are also more tools available for you. Take some time to find the right solutions to help you organize your sales life for you and your team.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adam Honig
Adam is the Co-Founder and CEO of Spiro Technologies. He is a recognized thought-leader in sales process and effectiveness, and has previously co-founded three successful technology companies: Innoveer Solutions, C-Bridge, and Open Environment. He is best known for speaking at various conferences including Dreamforce, for pioneering the 'No Jerks' hiring model, and for flying his drone while traveling the world.


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