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Why Salesmen Are Different than Sales Managers

Dirk Beveridge, President — 4th Generation Systems

• WayPoint Analytics • distribution management best practices • sales practices • management strategies • Wholesale Distribution Industry • sales management • sales management styles in distribution • distribution industry sales management • promoting to management • Randy MacLean • Dirk Beveridge

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I sat down with Dirk Beveridge recently to discuss why salesmen are different than sales managers. I was a nationally awarded sales rep and a sales manager, branch manager, sales VP, and president. However, after meeting with my colleague Dirk Beveridge from 4th Generations Systems I realized there are still some things I didn't know about sales management and development.

"I think it's an issue that impacts a lot of businesses," Dirk agrees, "but the key difference is that, as a sales representative, you're responsible for your own behavior and your own results. As a sales manager, you have to drive results through the behaviors of other individuals."

When I went from being a salesman to a sales manager, I was a little bit mystified. It involves managing a different kind of relationship. As a salesman, I could do a lot to build chemistry and rapport with the customer; I was helping to fulfill their needs. When I think back, I got promoted because I was a good salesman; in fact, I can tell you it certainly didn't mean that I was a good sales manager at that point, and I had to develop some of those skills without a lot of formal training.

"If we think about it, some of those same skills you used as an award-winning sales representative can be utilized to become an award-winning sales manager," Dirk explains. "The priority of the sales rep is to identify and then satisfy the customers' needs properly." The sales manager's "customer", in this case, is the sales representative. "In a sense, I get to use those same skills of identifying the needs of my sales representatives, and then bring solutions to help those individuals meet their goals which, in turn, will help the company."

"In order to drive sales, the owner of the business needs to have what I call guiding ideas," Dirk elaborated. "These ideas need to be defined; they need to be well articulated and consistently communicated. This includes things like the vision, the mission, the purpose, and the values." Whatever is done to motivate the sales force has to be consistent with these values. You could be implementing the best system in the world, and if it's not consistent with your company's understood values, then things will go nowhere. However, with clearly defined guiding ideas in mind, you can set up a sales system to motivate and develop your sales force.

Too often upper management will try to motivate without any clear direction or vision, only to see those efforts wasted when everybody goes back to what they've always done. While there are many aspects to a sales manager's role, a large part of it involves communicating and reinforcing key ideas with the sales force to help make sure that they stay on the right track.

For more information about Dirk Beveridge, visit: www.4thgenerationsystems.com

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