Women in Sales Blog

But, Why?! Why We Should Question the Future  Structure of Sales Management

Posted by Oct 28, 2015 11:54:34 AM Ali Powell

But, Why? 
Why does it have to be that way? 
No really!!!

I ask myself these types of questions every single day.

Why? Why does it have to be that way?  Who said it has to stay that way? Why can't things change? 
I have never been the kind of person to just go with the flow just because that was the way I was told it should be. 

I don't think of every day tasks as, "oh okay...yes, that's what I'll do because that's how it is supposed to be done."
I naturally question things when I am not sure why they are the way they are. Especially if you start to notice a shift in your colleagues and your company. You should take note of those things and explore how you can help to make a positive change. 

Don't get stuck in doing things the same way just because it is the way it is done. You work in sales for a reason. You like to help, you like to fix things. If you see a problem, I urge you to think differently, think about what could help and try to make a change. 

If you see an opportunity to change something for the better, you should try and fix it. No one ever made change without trying. 
I have to remind myself this everyday when I think of ideas. What do I care about and WHY? WHY do I care SO much about that one thing? What can I do to help change or fix that one thing? 

The reason I am bringing this is up is because I have started to consider becoming a manager or at least pursuing sales management at my company. 
Naturally I start to wonder things like:

  • What would my management style be?
  • What would I change about management if I could?
  • Do I like the way the management is done?
  • Would I do something different? Why? How? 

Why is sales management done the way it is done?
Is it time for a shake up?

Why can't we have changes to the traditional sales management structure if we see things that might benefit our employees around us?

I have always told my management team that I didn't want to be a manager. The more I think about why I did that I think that is because I wanted to get really good at my job and work my way up to the top. I have done that so now I naturally start to question, what is next for me?

The environment around me in sales has naturally triggered me to question if I want to be a manager next. 

Couple Reasons that I think I want to be a manager now: 

  • I want to be a manager now but not the traditional manager that I see before me and have had in the past. 
  • I see an opportunity to do management a bit different than we have before. The reason for that is I am aware of what is going on around me. 
  • I think I can help. I think I am in a good position to offer more value to our company rather than just being a sole contributor. I want to help other reps succeed like I have. 

I want to be a manager because I have seen a shift in the way sales works. It is not just about being "good" at sales anymore. 

I see a shift from selling a "dream" of a product to actually selling something that you need to understand FULLY and technically.  Remember I sell software so keep that in mind. You need to understand the ins and outs of your product. A good SaaS sales manager today is someone who understands the product, understands the competition and can speak technically to things that the prospect wants to understand. 

So what might the future of sales management look like? 

1. There is a manager who is more operational in the role. 

2. There is a manager who is more a coach/someone who teaches the reps how to do their job well. 

The Sales Manager of today has to do both of these things. Being really good at both of things as a manager is a lot. It is time consuming to do both and I think we need to change the way we structure management to account  for that. 

I could learn how to be better operationally but I don't see that as my strength. What I see as my strength is teaching, coaching. BUT, that does not make want to be a trainer. (Nothing wrong with trainers, coaches, etc). I am still a sales rep and still think that I can benefit from being on the floor as a sales manager. 

A sales manager of today needs to have REAL exposure to what it is like to be selling the product yourself. I have seen far too many managers distance their selves from the product and understanding the marketplace. That is okay! I appreciate their hard work on the operational, strategic things. But, that leaves a lack in our environment for the sales reps to grow and learn because their manager is focused on other things that need to get done. We as sales reps need a second manager who is the one who is going to coach on  calls, teach the product, teach us how to be better at sales. Someone who is solely focused on improvement of your role and mastering what you sell. 

It is smart to pick up on market queues. It is smart to pick up on things happening around you on the job. 

I think sales management needs to change so we are staying close to what is happening on the ground floor with our reps. We need to be in it with them. We need to change as the market changes and evolves. The only way to do that is by keeping yourself close to the people who sell. Most managers are busy, busy, busy. Their schedules are blocked out hour after hour with internal meetings, strategy, planning, operations. That doesn't help the reps on the floor.

It helps the company strategically and operationally but we are missing out on a huge opportunity to advise and coach our sales reps to be better at their jobs. 

What do you think sales management should look like? How does it work at your company? What works well and what doesn't work well? Would love to hear your thoughts! 

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Topics: Women in Tech, more women in tech, women sales managers, women in management, sales management, women managers

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