Heavy responsibility. No training. Sporadic support. Lower pay.
That was the tongue in cheek view of a colleague considering taking on a VP Sales job. As with most humor, it’s the ring of truth that makes the joke hit home.
Fact is, the sales management job at any level does indeed involve a lot of responsibility. The old saw, “Nothing happens until a sale is made,” is as true today as ever. The entire organization (i.e., everybody’s paycheck) depends on sales management getting sales to happen.
Sales management training? Ha! I was with IBM when I got my first management job. They sent me off to the week-long New Manager School. It was outstanding! But it had nothing to do with sales. Even one of the greatest selling machines in history didn’t have a class specifically for sales management. Real data is hard to come by, but best I can tell, a good 90% of sales managers never get any sales management training or education at all.
Support? Good luck! And note that there’s a lot of self-inflicted pain here… We sales types are so relentlessly positive and militantly independent that we invite the world to not bother lending a hand.
And yes! Most great sales managers (as well as most not so great sales managers) could rake in a lot more cash just managing a territory.
So why do any of us want to be a Sales Leader???
‘Cause it’s the most fun, challenging job ever, that’s why. The need to learn, grow and change is intense and never-ending. It’s endlessly fascinating. I’m in!
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