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  • Sales Managers
  • Premier Icon Kryton57

    Anyone here gone from daily Rep to management?  I’ve managed successfully several times before in a non sales support unit environment and am very much a mentor manager.  Having achieved good success as a senior rep after a change of career, I’m wondering whether to move to management, or continue my days – and relative independence – as a rep.

    it strikes me that managing a Sales business unit is much of “running a business” style of management e.g. including longer than annual term growth initiatives and strategies, team P&L etc.  I’m also aware good reps don’t always make good sales managers.   Recent promotions of more junior people around me – non sales – that iI’ve grown my career with leave me wondering if I’m being left behind, or if senior reps are valued vs a more managerial job title.

    I’d welcome any advice, however blunt.


    If you’re happy (mental well-being wise) then just stick.


    Sounds like you would be a strong candidate. Any chance of giving it a go and going back to a rep if it didn’t work out. I’ve known of people doing this before.


    PM me as I have done exactly this.

    Hob Nob

    As always, the answer is, it depends.

    I have gone down this route. Went from an Account Manager many years ago, to a Sales Manager for 6/7 years to current role of Head of Sales & Marketing of the UK subsidiary of a very big German automotive OEM.

    The role of a Sales Manager to me was fairly easy. You get to have an input on budgets, but no real responsibility. Assuming it’s the role in the traditional sense you will oversee the sales team on the day to day stuff, but you are still taking direction & guidance from your line manager above. If the targets are realistic, your team is competent & motivated, then the role is simple. The difficult comes when bits arnt working & people look to you for answers. You will become the sh*t filter between senior management and your team & it becomes a balancing act of managing everyone’s expectations. You will absolutely have to learn to say no.

    The next step to me, was significantly more challenging than the last. Do I miss the the relative lack of stress of the other roles? Absolutely. Do I enjoy the benefits of my current job? Absolutely. I certainly won’t be doing this forever though. In reality, one or two bad years at this level & you are out of the door anyway. Unless you have some very exceptional circumstances.


    Seems like a lifetime ago ..but yeah I made that transition one of four Regional Sales Managers nationally looking after Yorkshire/ Cumbria/ North East / Borders / Lothian.. ..with 4 area managers and 40+ sales merchandisers..selling chart/ budget CD’s / DVD’s & computer games plus other leisure products …into non traditional outlets ( Motorway Service areas / Garage forecourt shops etc
    ..I missed the day to day buzz of actually selling at the sharp end…and felt too thinly spread to give enough time to individuals in the team I was fronting.
    The last quarter sales target was in excess of £2M..which was way to unrealistic..and three of us were made redundant on Christmas Eve fax!..( back in the 90’s)
    The closer you get to the top of the tree the thinner the branches get and the easier it is to fall my snippet of advice !

    Premier Icon slowoldman

    it strikes me that managing a Sales business unit is much…

    Swiss Toni

    Premier Icon big_scot_nanny

    Many years ago I move from Rep (after 7 years) to Manager (Poacher turned game keeper!).

    You are correct, that good sales guys don’t necessarily make good managers. Indeed, often the best sales people are bloody awful managers. If you are doing the manager job properly, there really is no similarity to the rep job at all. Only the industry/products etc. What you actually do, the purpose of your role is totally different.

    As a manager, you should only have 2 goals:
    1) Bend the performance line
    2) Develop your people

    Important to note that point 2 does not just mean coach/mentor/train, but also about the difficult conversations.

    My wife still asks me: “so, who did you make cry today?” 😂

    I loved being a first line manager, I still believe its one of the most important jobs in any commercial organisation, and I was lucky to get such great development and support. I was a top 10 rep, but made the shift successfully as I had a brilliant second line manager, and a fabulous mentor in another part of the business. Creating my own team culture, developing our vision of success, moving on the folks who couldn’t do the job well enough (and were frankly very unhappy in it, so win win), bringing in new folks, recognising those doing a great job and building on it… Its still my favourite part of my job now.

    If you really love being a sales guy, be a sales guy and be bloody good at it – the company will value that for as long as you are good. If you want to manage people, and all the ups, downs, trials and tribulations that that brings (my god, there’s a lot of that, especially as a managers of sales teams!), then crack on and give that a go.

    But it is not even remotely the same job. (YMMV, IMHO etc etc)

    Premier Icon alibongo001

    I think being a manager is quite like being the salesperson for a very small territory the team being your customers.

    I’ve been in many sales roles over the years including managing teams up to around 13 people.

    I would guess that any useful information on reasons why you have not yet made it to a manager with your current role might be best found out with a phone call (happy to help)

    It may be that staying in first-line sales might be the best bet as the extra responsibility and workload are usually not met with enough extra salary etc to make it worthwhile unless you really want to!

    Premier Icon Kryton57

    Thanks chaps.  I’ll be calling Pauly soon as he’s very kindly offered some advice.  Big Scot Nanny thats very helpful thanks.   I have managed before UK teams and EMEA team in Consulting, but moved to a solo role after getting fed up with “other peoples problems”.  I think I’d be happy to manage again.

    I’m taking it all in slowing before making decisions, and doing some reading.   Some of the “Sales is the greatest job in the world” content speaks of the flexibility, reward and self management/discipline that only a successful Sales person can achieve in a corporate position,  I’d do well to remember that.

    I guess some of this is my mid life transition I’m going through now wondering whether I really should target more senior positions and not be afraid of the challenge, yet on the other hand there things like Virgin mentor programmes that would satisfy my mentor need in a voluntary way and allow me to continue with a contributor role at work.  Maybe I’m worried about being labelled as just a “travelling sales person”.

    Lots to think about!

    Hob Nob

    I think it absolutely makes sense to at least explore other options.

    The role of an external rep (be it area manager, account manager, or whatever the current favourite title is) is, at least in our world coming under ever further scrutiny.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t have anyone in that role in the short to mid term future.

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