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Getting promoted to sales manager is an ambition for many sales representatives, but the functions are very different.

While the main roles and responsibilities of sales managers are often well known, some implications are less well known, if at all. Of course, you need to have as clear a vision as possible about your future role to get off to a good start.

What do you need to know before getting promoted to sales manager?

You Will No Longer Make Direct Sales

Do you like the action of the field and the commissions linked to sales? These elements are not an integral part of a sales manager position. Usually, a sales manager should spend no more than 5% of their time selling.

It is also possible that as a manager, you earn less money than you did with your commissions. Because they can make less money, lead sales managers can spend too much time on direct sales, to the detriment of the success of their sales force.

You Will Need to Build Your Credibility from Scratch

You will need to work to ensure that your former sales colleagues perceive you correctly in your new management role. The first step is establishing a relationship of trust (without being too friendly) and demonstrating that you are the right person for your new position.

You’ll Have to Help Salespeople Win

In a sales manager role, gone are your moments in the spotlight as is often the case for sales representatives. Your purpose is to help your salespeople shine through their successes and accomplishments.

You will help your sales team win by:

  • Establishing personal goals
  • Setting realistic targets
  • Breakdown annual targets to enforce sales recipes 
  • Match sales targets with individual personal goals

You Will Need to Coach Your Representatives

Motivating your sales team and coaching are becoming more critical in the daily life of sales managers because it has the most significant impact on performance. Whether you have received coaching yourself or not, be prepared to coach your players. A good sales manager is expected to spend 50% of his time coaching.

You Will Have to Hold Your Team Accountable

Most sales managers don’t like this responsibility. However, accountability does not mean micromanagement or lack of autonomy. For a sales manager, it is more about creating an environment in which excuses will not be accepted to justify poor results.

You’ll Have Some Tough Decisions to Make

Firing a member of the sales team is among the most challenging decisions to make. Ending a business relationship with an unprofitable customer is also a sales manager’s decision. Purging reps’ sales funnel of opportunities is also part of the job.

In short, through these few examples, you can agree that sales managers carry heavy responsibilities on their shoulders. However, these are the most difficult decisions to make that can also have the most impact.

You Will Not Work on the Sales Strategy

The sales manager role is the indispensable link between the strategy level (sales vice-presidency or general management) and its execution in the field (direct and indirect sales forces). You will, therefore, have to manage the operational side of sales.

You Will Need to Improve Your Practice and Skills Continually

Sales changes very quickly because of customer behaviour, the behaviour of salespeople and the environment in general, you will need to be disciplined in your continuous learning.

Today, there is no lack of access to resources for training when there is the will to do so. I encourage you to spend a few hours a week developing your knowledge and skills.


Being a good sales manager is not easy. The role’s impact is still often overlooked by Presidents, CEOs and Sales VPs. However, if you focus your energy on performance rather than on direct sales you and your company will be most profitable.