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The SELLING Sales Manager: Executing Proven Success

10 Feb, 2015 By: Kim Ward, Print Management Solutions Group

I received a phone call for help last week from a new selling sales manager. She told me how happy she was initially to get what she thought was a promotion from ‘strictly selling’ to the role of Selling Sales Manager. The conversation quickly turned to the concerns she had and the struggles she was encountering in her new role.

According to sales managers and leaders in our sales management training classes, the role of wearing two hats, both sales professional and sales manager, has become a more common option for small to mid-size businesses. When asked, company owners and senior leaders say that filling the sales manager position with a dual purpose selling sales manager helps them relieve some of their own sales management responsibilities and at the same time begin to transition one of their growth potential salespeople into a management and leadership role. Unfortunately, even though the selling sales manager has become a more widespread role, very few who are given this new opportunity do well with it, at least initially.

If you or someone you know is in this ‘part time’ manager position then understanding why they are struggling is the best place to start if you want to help them reach greater levels of effectiveness and satisfaction. Let’s consider the challenge dynamics of the selling sales manager role.

Selling Sales Manager challenges:

  1. Thinking and making decisions like a manager and not like an employee.
  2. Finding the time to execute their own selling priorities while also making time to coach and mentor the other salespeople on their team.
  3. Gaining respect and trust as a sales manager rather than as a salesperson.
  4. Managing sales communications for the whole team rather than just themselves.
  5. Managing the added responsibilities of reporting, employee selling challenges, and management projects while maintaining their own selling focus.

Every company and leader must decide for themselves whether or not a selling sales manager is a good idea for their company. There are several reasons why creating this kind of role inside a sales team makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is expecting a newly promoted sales person to be immediately effective in the role when they are not given the appropriate education, tools, and processes needed to become a successful manager.

Here are a few helpful things you might consider if you are currently a selling sales manager or if you have responsibility for managing someone in this recently popular role.

Selling Sales Manager recommendations:

  1. Consider proper and proven sales management training

At Learning Outsource Group we’ve trained more than 40,000 successful sales managers and leaders over the last two decades and according to a very large number of them, great sales manager training can make all of the difference!

Making effective management decisions, understanding and prioritizing work responsibilities, and developing management level trust with employees are not inherited traits. They must be learned and developed.

  1. Remember that the best results commonly occur by plan.

According to very successful salespeople, they work on average between 50 – 70 hours per week in order to achieve their aggressive sales targets. The way these successful salespeople achieve sales optimization may vary from person to person but the simple truth is that it always takes a lot of man hours to make the best selling results happen. So if any of them assume the additional role of sales manager, the question must be asked, “How are they supposed to keep their sales results up and find the time to manage, coach, and mentor other salespeople?”

The recommendation is simple. Plan. And, if you intend to implement this recommendation, we suggest that the selling sales manager and the executive they report to consider doing the following exercise together.


Determine the Goals, Time Frames, Tasks, and People Development required for achieving success.

  1. Make a list of what you want and need to accomplish as both a salesperson and a sales manager.
  2. List the tasks which you must perform if you are going to achieve these goals.
  3. Add to your list the people who might need to be involved, influenced, or coached in order to achieve your goals and the amount of time it will most likely take to accomplish this.
  4. Determine reasonable timelines for executing your tasks to accomplish your goals.
  5. Now measure in your selling plan and combine the time it takes for both selling and managing to determine daily, weekly, and monthly work plans.

There are other, deeper considerations which we point out in our Sales Management Training classes but this is certainly an easy way to get started. Begin by understanding what needs to be done, with who, and how much time it will most likely take and you should be off to a great start balancing the responsibilities of the selling sales manager.


Author Kim D. Ward is the Director of Training for Learning Outsource Group based in Ormond Beach, Florida. He has been involved in training and consulting within the office imaging industry since 1993. He is a nationally recognized speaker, facilitator, consultant, and coach and has personally worked with over 30,000 industry professionals, teaching such programs as Sales Management Leadership, Management Development, Advanced Sales Training, Selling Managed Print Services, and many others. Kim has worked extensively with a large number of industry OEM’s, IKON, Global Imaging Systems, Xerox, and over 800 independent office imaging dealers during the past 20 years. www.learningoutsourcegroup.com

About the Author: Kim Ward

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