Are You a Sales Leader or a Leading Seller?

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Sales management is not for the faint of heart. It’s ´more like constantly living between a rock and a hard place: the company’s management requires ever increasing sales results, the sales team needs a friend and a peer to give them advice and support – and customers want discounts. So, what should you do – should you put more emphasis on selling or leadership?

In recently concluded “Finland’s Best Sales Organization 2010” competition, one of the key measures of the competence of a sales organization was the way the sales managers’ allocated their time. One crucial finding in the analysis was that sales managers spend an average of 70% of their time selling.

This can be devastating, because if the majority of your time is spent in your own personal sales efforts – and the remaining 30% mainly in reporting, administration and internal meetings – when are you going to find time to manage and coach your sales team? (Not to talk about all the evenings and weekends you spend in all the administrative tasks.) Will there be enough time for leadership, or is leadership reduced to mere reporting and searching for mistakes?

Leadership should always include teaching as a major ingredient, and particularly in the information age the need to teach and to learn becomes even more important. But who has time to teach, when almost all of your time is spent selling?

So is it really so that a majority of sales managers are not actual sales leaders, but merely leading sellers?

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