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Are You Training Your Sales Manager?

Our sales training clients in Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton and Calgary agree on the importance of having a well-trained sales team.  The ability to monetize your marketing efforts and drive sales is the lifeblood of top-line revenue growth.  How about your Sales Manager?  This person is leading your team and fully responsible for your company’s sales success or lack there of.  Is your Sales Manager creating top-producers or driving Salespeople to work for the competition?

Here’s a sobering fact that many Sales Managers will unfortunately agree with.  We neglect or at least wait too long to train Sales Managers.  The Harvard Business Review recently reported that the average age of managers receiving training was 42.  Of the 17,000 worldwide leaders polled, the average age of the managers was 33.   Here’s what they found:

Harvard Business Review – We Wait Too Long To Train Our Leaders

Training Your Sales Manager A Decade Too Late

Allowing Sales Managers to practice in the field without specific training for almost 10 years is not good business.  It can be downright destructive.  Lost sales, poor employee retention, disappointed clients and unrealized expectations paint an ugly picture that everyone hates to look at – especially a frustrated Sales Manager who doesn’t know what he or she is doing wrong.

The Disconnect

It’s common for a company to promote a top-producing Salesperson into the role of Sales Manager.   Why not?  It seems obvious to expect that a great Salesperson makes a great Sales Manager.  Even the promoted Salesperson tends to think that way.  Personally, I remember my experience very well.  After one month in the new management role, I wondered if I had made a huge mistake.  Here’s why.

Completely Different Skill Set

The skill set required to be a great Sales Manager is radically different than what it takes to be a top-performing Salesperson.  A Sales Manager must adapt to a new role that requires new attributes that have a direct bearing on the success of his or her team.  Many qualities of successful Salespeople are applicable to being an excellent Sales Manager.  Work ethic, people skills, perseverance are great examples.

Check out the qualities that greatly differ between the two positions.  Look how the skill set needs to change to adapt to the Sales Manager’s role.


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The difference

It can be easily summed up in one statement a successful Sales Manager is a Salesperson who has learned to walk the sales floor into their new role The adrenaline rush that you received as a Salesperson when closing a big deal is now converted into the gratification in teaching your Salespeople to do what you mastered.

Professional Sports

There is an uncanny parallel between success in professional sports and sales.  It’s easy to draw the analogies.  The role of a successful Sales Manager has changed over the decades, no different than the shift in evolution of what makes a winning coach in the NHL.  Read this article and see if it’s not 100% applicable to sales coaching.

The Globe and Mail – Hockey’s Biggest Shift: Fifty Years Of Evolution in NHL Coaching

The mindset

You must learn to teach, mentor and empower.  That takes specialized training from an accomplished expert with a proven track record.   Find someone you respect who’s prepared to take on that role.  Hire someone who is committed to making it happen for you.  Managers administrate and manage people – Leaders teach people to manage themselves.   The premise of allowing your Sales Manager to learn on the job for 10 years before offering him or her training shows little respect for their future, your Salespeople, your clients and your company.

What do you think?

Please give me your thoughts in the comments area.  If you liked this Blog, please share it on your favorite social media platform.  Feel free to investigate our six-month Sales Management Training Program.  If you’re a Professional Salesperson wanting the skills of a top-producer, please feel free to check out our online program The Sales Skills Incubator or our book  SHUT UP!  Stop Talking and Start Making Money.




Dave Warawa – PROSALESGUY 




2 thoughts on “Are You Training Your Sales Manager?

  1. Hi Dave, loved the NHL coaching article. Good or bad it represents society today. Employees want to know the reasoning behind decisions. Sales isn’t a 1970′s locker room anymore. There are all types personalities & people represented around the boardroom table.

  2. Marty Stevens on March 31st, 2017 at 1:13 am
  3. Agreed, Marty. Leadership in any capacity is a very difficult task. I’ve found that when management has to explain decisions to their sales team, it helps to do a few things:

    1. Don’t sell Salespeople. Because they do it for a living, they smell it from a mile away. Give them the facts and do your best to explain decisions from the company’s perspective while acknowledging the Salespeople’s view.
    2. Tell them that you don’t expect them to like all decisions made. You do feel that everyone is entitled to an explanation because it helps people understand it. Everyone is entitled to their own feelings.
    3. Allow a cooling off period. Let the team get over it. Help people move on and do the best to influence what they have control over – their sales activity.

    Thanks, Marty.

  4. Dave Warawa PROSALESGUY on March 31st, 2017 at 1:28 am

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