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Sales Manager vs. Sales Rep

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OK. So you ignored my post last week, and decided to become a sales manager, anyhow. So be it. But if that’s the case, then you now need to start doing things differently — from day one.

First, you’re probably used to being very, actively selfish with your time. Every week, you lock in on your goals, fix the appointments you can, set aside time to do your critical tasks, and to follow up, and anything that isn’t core to your goals gets actively discarded from the calendar. You don’t have time for that nonsense. Now, however, all of those previous sentences need to be in the past tense. Gone are the days of instinctively resisting interruptions from others, of declining incoming calls. Your time is no longer your own.

That’s exactly why the transition to manager is often so frustrating. As a sales manager, your time is not your own.

Time management skills for individual contributors are very different than time management skills for managers. Your job now is to build your team, and once you’ve built it, to make them as successful as possible. It’s all about the team.

Actually, if you haven’t done so recently, and you’re either a new sales manager or thinking of becoming one, I strongly encourage you to take a time-management for managers class. The skills are different enough that spending 8 hours in lectures over the course of a week, and changing some habits, is well worth the investment.

One of the things you’ll learn in that class (no matter which time management program you use) is to prioritize — and if it’s really a class for managers, it will be teaching you to prioritize long-term, strategic things over short term, tactical things. Get the latter out of the way ASAP, so you can spend your valuable time on the former. And probably the most important, long-term, strategic way you can be spending your time is to focusing on coaching, not managing.

Once you’ve made that transition — once you’ve stopped jealously guarding your time, and started spending it on actively coaching and mentoring your team — you’ll be well on your way to being a great sales manager.