There are many sales managers who remain active with their personal selling in addition to their managerial responsibilities. This is usually a positive practice. After all, part of what makes a good sales manager was their ability to sell in the first place. It’s benefit for a company to keep leveraging such an asset. Not to mention, sales managers want to stay sharp in their skills and relevant in their industry knowledge in order to enhance their ability to coach their teams.
At the same time, actively selling brings with it the risk of not properly balancing time. Would you agree that it’s more difficult to notice the bottom-line impact of missing a one-on-one debrief meeting than to notice the impact of missing a presentation with a client? This makes it seemingly justifiable to shirk managerial duties from time to time in order to take on more selling responsibilities. In this case, you’d be falling victim to the “Tyranny of the Urgent”. Managing is about being proactive and following processes. As much as we like sales to be proactive, there is a large element of reactivity to it, which becomes urgent and steals away time. If a manager is able to stick to their plans with their sales people and properly optimize each reps’ development, then overtime they will have a greater impact on sales revenue than if they were to over commit on their own selling initiatives.
Managers aren’t the only ones who can fall victim to the Tyranny of the Urgent either. It can just as easily crop up with individual sales people. With all of the hinges that squeak on a daily basis, it’s challenging for sales people to maintain their focus and recognize how they should best allocate their time. In order to avoid this hang up, sales managers and sales people alike ought to establish long-term plans, which they are committed to stick to. These plans can act as roadmaps when the surrounding distractions are threatening to take someone off course.