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Dealing with a Sales Manager

Essential tips on how to build a healthy relationship with your manager while accelerating towards your professional goals.

They say:
Some 60% of people quit because of their boss, not the company.

I say:
that’s BS. You’re in sales, you need to learn how to sell internally and externally.

Everyone has different personalities, below are a few tactical ways of dealing with your manager. Let’s call this “Managing up 101.”


Transparency and Communication

What is their management style?

  • Heard of the 5 Love Languages? It works the same way with relationships in business (although maybe less emphasis on “physical touch”) – different people have different ways of showing or receiving appreciation.

  • Be explicit with your manager about how you like to receive feedback (both positive and negative) while also understanding their natural tendencies.

  • If something about their style doesn’t vibe with you, tell them! Let them know how you like to be pushed, motivated, and held accountable.

What are their strengths and weaknesses?

  • Some managers are better at closing deals and others are better at managing people. Both are valuable, but you should figure out:

    • Who can you find within the organization to help fill that gap?
    • How can you learn from their strengths and then double down on those efforts to make you even more successful?
  • Share your personality and what’s happening in your life non-professionally and create that space for them to as well.

    • We’re all human at the end of the day, don’t expect your manager to be any different

Structured 1:1s

These should be driven by the sales rep – AEs and SDRs should own the invite, the agenda, and the recap, just like you would a customer call.

Set expectations and boundaries

  • Remote world has created a lot of ambiguity around when people should be online and available.
    • Are calls and texts ok?
    • How and when do you remove yourself from working from home?

'Like that, wish that' framework

Share with each other something you like then, wish that they did. Do not leave the 1:1 until a piece of constructive feedback is shared with each other

Conflict Resolution

If you’re upset about something your manager did, first, take a breath. More times than not, a decision is made based on the needs of the business, not personal feelings.

  • Remove the emotion from the decision and try to understand what the end goal was.

Be upfront with how you felt about it and what you plan to do differently.

Find a mentor

I can’t stress this enough. Sometimes you “pull the short stick” with getting a manager and all the right tactics don’t work. These people rarely last as leaders at a company. Don’t waste time though, go find someone that can help you in the areas that you need to grow.

Radical Candor is one of my favorite books. I think all relationships need to be built on a foundation of trust and respect so hard conversations can then be had. This goes both ways from manager to rep and vice versa. Build a relationship and hold each other accountable to upholding each other’s commits.

How to make 1:1s effective?
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