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Do sales managers need to be better at selling than their sdrs/aes?

What do you guys think, please discuss your answer!

Do sales managers need to be better at selling than their sdrs/aes?
Attached poll
*Voting in this poll no longer yields commission.
11
salesnerd
WR Officer
+16
Head of Growth
Honestly, no. 

I'm a decent seller. I've never been the best on the floor by any means. As a manager, where I shine is in a few categories:
1) Coaching. I can coach the shit out of my reps. 
2) Ops. Sometimes sales ops can get in the way of salespeople closing deals. I can help guide ops to prevent that.
3) Shit umbrella. This is a term that a good friend of mine coined; it means that I'm there to prevent upper management's nonsense from affecting my reps. 
SalesGal
Politicker
+6
Account Manager / FSR
Coaching isn't a skill that comes naturally to everyone but imo its such an important one for a manager to have ! 
JC10X
Politicker
+8
Senior Sales Manager
100% - it can certainly be trained though. :)
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JC10X
Politicker
+8
Senior Sales Manager
If part of coaching is a skill transfer, and let's say it was about overcoming objections, would they not need your expertise for guidance or do you share links and material they can follow?
salesnerd
WR Officer
+16
Head of Growth
Oh, you absolutely need to know what you're doing! I'm not saying a manager can be dogshit at sales and be a good manager by any means. 

Being able to identify when someone has an area for improvement and helping guide them to an improvement is 'coaching' to me. 
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funcoupons
WR Officer
+11
Kahluapons
Nope. The best salesman rarely makes for the best sales manager and vice versa. The sales manager needs to be able to understand the sales process, product, and should be able to hold their own in a cold call/pitch/close. Some past sales experience is ideal so they have a close understanding of what their reps are going through. 

What sales managers do need to have a high level of skill in is coaching, communication skills, leadership/management skills, earning respect, and a desire to be there! A bad sales manager will kill the morale of an entire team.
JH
JHPdx
Senior Account Executive
100% agree. Sales managers should be able to empathize with what their team is dealing with but the soft skills are more important for managing. So many companies promote good sellers to manage when the skill set is not the same. There has to be a berm tree way to incentivize a good seller than moving them to manage? My best managers find a way to make me shine and help close deals with their guidance and additional negotiation abilities while letting me take credit.
CadenceCombat
Tycoon
+13
Account Executive
I largely agree that managers do not need to be as good at selling firsthand as their sales team.

However, there's nothing that inspires more confidence than having a manager or director take the reins to do XYZ if it's something you're not fully confident to execute and show you how its done.

The amount of times I've had sales managers ask me to take a certain approach that I didn't fully agree with and I knew full well that they would trip over executing this themselves has been a cause of frustration.
JC10X
Politicker
+8
Senior Sales Manager
100%! I also think about how these sales managers would go about filling a skill gap in their team.
MassholeMovesWest
WR Officer
+11
Account Executive
Is Bill Belichick better at football than his players? No.

Having said that, I think having a coach or manager that is also a great seller gives reps more confidence and belief in what they say. 

If a manager isn't as good as their reps, then sometimes their advice can fall on deaf ears because you can say the right things in training all you want, but it doesn't mean shit unless you can say those same things on the phones.
CadenceCombat
Tycoon
+13
Account Executive
Exactly @Boston2TheBay 
JC10X
Politicker
+8
Senior Sales Manager
Loved the analogy. 
SalesPharaoh
Politicker
+8
AM BDR
No it's more of a mentor protector role of the team. You make sure nothing affects the ship while it's sailing. 
He has to be able to deal internally with his superiors and negotiate reasonable quotas. 

It's a whole different ball game.
JC10X
Politicker
+8
Senior Sales Manager
Interesting and 100% true. Wondering if they need protection from a "lack of skill" and how a sales manager may go about filling a skill gap in their team?
SalesPharaoh
Politicker
+8
AM BDR
They need of course protection from that, whether this lack is identified within the team or outside. If within it falls under his responsibility to 1st upskill if fail eliminate and rehire so that the whole team isn't negatively impacted. If from outside it's his role to address it or circumvent this with his internal relationship with leadership and other teams. Either by proposing new process if that lack of external skill is impacting this or putting on pressure on that person from another team even by simply being cced. 
sebs
Politicker
+8
BDR
No, for two reasons. 

One, they should definitely have some experience as an SDR/AE, but They don't need to be the top performer at all. Just need to have a really good understanding of the process. Otherwise, they really won't get how their team feels. 

Two, if they're better at selling than their team, they should be a closer, not a people manager. If they're so good at selling, freaking sell then (or be a sales coach). I've seen sales managers so focused on being the best at selling that they never help their team out, therefore, they aren't good managers.
JC10X
Politicker
+8
Senior Sales Manager
I agree - there's a lot more to being a manager, but if you have sales skills over a manager that does not - how do you see that impact a person's or team's skill gaps? 
sebs
Politicker
+8
BDR
I guess each organization has different scope for what sales managers need to accomplish. Ultimately, like a lot of other comments say, it's a different skillset and good managers will motivate their top performers to keep being better while learning from them or empowering them to help other members of their team do well. I think @salesnerd said it best in the top comment
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PermianSalesEngineer
Technical Sales Engineer
I agree! I think it is hard to have a manager that has never sold (current situation) but do appreciate their mentorship in other areas. 
swerve
WR Lieutenant
+4
Account Executive
I'm not inviting my boss to my calls if she/he's not able to up my game and progress the deal. They have to be at least equal on selling skills in my book.
JC10X
Politicker
+8
Senior Sales Manager
Yes!!!! Thanks for your input!
bo
bobohohobassman
Personal Wealth Associate
I voted 'Yes' above and wanted to share context behind my answer.

While I believe it is important to for a manager to have a track record of quota-smashing success, promoting a high-performing rep into an open managerial position *just because* of their great performance is an absolute no-go.

Being a sales manager is tough; not only do you need to have excellent skills and success, but you also need patience, ability to coach, a great deal of empathy, and many other soft skills.

However, having top notch people skills but being unable to sell is also a no-go for a sales manager.

tl;dr - sales managers need great sales and people skills, and there shouldn't be sales managers with lousy sales skills.
JC10X
Politicker
+8
Senior Sales Manager
I'd love to hear thoughts on the Yes' as well! :)
Sales
WR Lieutenant
+4
Jedi
No. The best manager I ever had was not a great salesperson. But if you are a manager who has a team of junior sellers, your job is to teach them to sell so it's better to have that experience. For more tenured roles, it's better to have a manager who is good at managing (coaching, shielding you from distractions at company, etc). 
MackTheKnife
WR Officer
+4
Enterprise Account Executive
If a sales manager can't do a better job then what are they exactly doing? Babysitting? Pouring over analytics? Therapy? All of the above are parts of the role at times, but if as a sales leader I can't jump on a call and CLOSE A DEAL for my SDR/AEs, then I'm a pretender. This is why most coaches reached the pinnacle of their sports (with plenty of outliers), there is mutual respect, and they walked that same road they are asking their players to take to become great. If an SDR can outsell their manager, what can they really be learning? 
Jackywaky
Arsonist
+9
Master of Disaster
S. Managers should be good at managing. Yeah - we are managing sales teams, but rather than being a top seller, let's focus on understanding what is needed to make the team sales rockstars. 
SDMHGWarrior
Tycoon
+13
CEO
It's called Coachability...
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+50
looper1010 ,   GDO ,   BCD   and 50 people voted