Why Do Sales Managers Have to Work It All Out for Themselves?

During the early years of my sales career I wanted to be a manager SOOO BAD – I didn’t know it at the time – but when I eventually got my chance – I was nowhere near ready.


Not that I was going to let that stop me!

It happened in my early twenties – and I tried my best – but I still wince to this day when I think about some of the dreadful things I said and did.

So, If you’ve recently been thrust into a management role – trust me, I know exactly where you are and how you feel.

I mean this is what you’ve worked for isn’t it? The position you’ve aspired to – this is your chance to take the next step up.

But, because most new managers have received no training and very little guidance – they’re just left to work it out for themselves.

Actually, becoming a manager is a bit like parenting – that’s another job you don’t really get to grips with until you’ve got a bit of practical experience.

Young people always talk about how they’re going to bring up their own children so much better than the harsh and unfair efforts of their own mum and dad.

But reality kicks in when they become parents themselves – that’s when they start to realise the ton of stuff that’s been going on in the background – and how very different life looks from the other side of the school run and the “get home before dark” argument.

Anyway – fast forward about ten years from my first sales management role – and I’m a sales director in charge of a team of just under 100 people – and even at that point, I’m not convinced I’d worked it all out completely.

But that was the job that made me face it – head on – no hiding, nowhere to run – fail at this one and your career stops here sunshine.

SO – I read and I studied.

I put myself on courses and became obsessed with the words of YouTube leadership gurus (which wasn’t always the best advice) – I was determined to stop running into every problem head first and clueless.

I was going to become the kind of business leader who made a difference.

What I eventually worked out, was a way of managing teams that really worked, and although I thought I was still just getting by on a day to day basis – what I was actually working to was a framework I’d later call The FAME Effect;

Focus – Accountability – Motivation – Education


The way you’re facing is the way you’re going to end up – don’t stare at the tree you’re skidding towards, focus on the clear bit of road that you want to finish up on.

Focus also involves working out whether the road you’re on is actually taking you where you really want to go – not confusing yourself with multiple routes – and definitely not being fooled into following a “shortcut” that ends up taking you in the completely wrong direction.

When you’ve got your direction sorted – you can take a look at your dashboard and decide what it is you should be counting and monitoring – what numbers really define success – and why.

That gives you a chance to decide whether the things you measure are truly important or not.

FOCUS makes us ask – WHAT – as in;

“What jobs really need doing – and which ones should we concentrate on first?”


Once you’ve worked out what needs doing, you take a look at who’s going to be accountable for achieving each part of the plan.

When you race rally cars for a living – the driver doesn’t navigate and the navigator doesn’t drive.

Accountability is all about defining responsibilities – yours and your team’s – and helping them to take ownership and responsibility for nurturing and growing their small corner of the global business garden.

ACCOUNTABILITY makes us ask – WHO – as in;

“Whose job is it?” and “Who should be doing this job?”


So, once you’ve worked out what everyone should be doing, the next thing you need to work out is why anyone should care.

Care enough to get the job done, and better than that –

Care enough to get the job done brilliantly.

At first you might think it’s just for the money. But let me ask you this;

When you help your friend decorate the house for her daughters graduation party – do you put in less effort because there’s no monetary reward?

Are you doing just enough or the best you can do?

Are you doing it begrudgingly or with happiness and gusto.

Everybody volunteers to go to work

The management motivation secret here is not necessarily how to motivate them as such (most people are already there to do the best they can) – it’s how to make sure we don’t demotivate or extinguish the bright burning flame that already existed before someone got in the way and snuffed it out by making the job or person feel unimportant.

You’ve also got to realise that everyone else isn’t you.

You need to understand the complete spectrum of different personality types – and why it’s almost impossible to motivate anyone else if you’re not genuinely motivated yourself.

MOTIVATION answers the question – WHY – as in;

“Why is this job worth doing?”


The world changes continuously, in many cases what was standard just a few years ago can easily be outdated next week.

This final section is about developing and nurturing fabulous talent so that they can be the best that they can be – ultimately, so that they can actually be better than you.

EDUCATION answers the question – HOW – as in;

“How does this job get done with spectacular results?”

Actually – as far as this part was concerned, my aim was always to seed the business world with all those people who had outgrown my nest – to endeavour to make them so good, they had to go somewhere better to fully stretch their wings.

And while their careers blossomed elsewhere and they were asked at interviews what it was that they put their current success and incredible professionalism down to – my goal was for their reply to always be the same;

“It’s because I spent time in HIS team – everyone who spent time in that team went on to be even more successful elsewhere – it was all down to his four part plan.”


Interested in finding out more?


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Our Sales Management Open Workshops show you how to piece together the four main elements of successfully managing a team – Focus; Accountability; Motivation; Education – and show you how to get the best out of everyone involved.

At the end of this workshop delegates will be able to:

  • Work out how to focus on the real tasks that need to be achieved – and find a way to ensure every member of their team is doing that too.
  • Create a culture where every member of the team understands that they are accountable and responsible for their own success – and recognise exactly what that makes them accountable for.
  • Genuinely motivate people to over deliver -and even more importantly – learn how to make sure you don’t demotivate them.
  • Coach the entire team to greater things – learn how to give them a net of their own rather than continuously feeding them individual fish.
  • Feel competent and confident enough to conduct staff discipline in a professional (and legal) manner.


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