A Sales Management lesson – Do you Manage or Lead?

Blog A sales management lesson - do you manage or lead

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There are many people who would consider the words ‘leader’ and ‘manager’ to be much-of-a-muchness – that they mean the same thing. But it’s not until you put them into ‘action’ that you see where they distinguish themselves from each other.

A person responsible for controlling or administering all or part of a company or similar organisation.
A person who influences a group of people towards the achievement of a goal. 

And to become a good sales manager, it’s about recognising the differences between the two words and then turning them into something you do. By making sure you carry out the key functions of sales management AND leadership, you will then see how they have an effect on your team and their results.

So how do those in a sales manager position also bring effective leadership into their day-to-day duties, while still overseeing the management of their employer’s sales process as a whole? It can actually be as simple as sitting down and working out what ‘actions’ come under each function.

Here’s an example:

A leader: 

  • Thinks outside the square to identify new opportunities. 
  • Inspires and motivates their team.
  • Takes responsibility and leads by example.
  • Is confident in themselves and has confidence in their team. 
  • Is always open and honest.
  • Champions the cause in everything they do.

A manager:

  • Makes sure the right processes are in place.
  • Sets appropriate KPI’s and targets.
  • Makes sure their team has the best tools available to do their job.
  • Resolves issues and problems.
  • Provides regular communication to everyone in their team.
  • Five things the best managers do and don’t do – by

Of course tasks and responsibilities will vary in different sales manager roles, but even if there is room to apply just a few of the ‘leadership’ qualities into your day-to-day schedule, you can be well on your way to becoming an inspiring leader, as well as an effective manager of your team. 

As with most things in life, there is certainly a balance required when it comes to prioritising leadership tasks and management responsibilities, i.e. you need to be careful that you don’t sit too heavily in one camp, leaving the other side to not perform as well. But if you do have each part clearly defined, and are able to visually access reminders of what each makes up each component, then it is likely that you will be able to stay on track with being a successful sales manager who also leads their team to achieve great targets.

It’s human nature for employees to want to be managed well in their job, but most people also have an intrinsic need to be inspired to do better, strive for greater results and to achieve things they didn’t think possible. That is where a good leader steps in the door. 


We coach our clients through this HIGH PERFORMANCE SALES PATHWAY to help them get clear on their strategy, transform their sales team and achieve sales growth, without stress and uncertainty of going it alone.


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