Sales people are most often the glass-is-half-full people. Being a sales road warrior is not easy. The day when I snapped this picture, my first thoughts were thanks for the great weather, light traffic, and the fact that my day on the road would soon be over.
Many days I have pulled into home at well past midnight after an incredibly long day on the road. I long ago lost track of the evenings where I would come in from dinner with customers only to spend the rest of the night in front of a computer catching up with customer and company correspondence.
I know my wife has told me that in my early years at Apple, that she only saw the back of head most weekends. It is the rare sales manager who understands how hard you are working.
Sales is a tough business, mostly because anyone who happens to be a manager thinks that they can also be a sales manager. This is the case even if most of their sales experience comes from sitting through seminars. To be a successful sales manager, you need to have lived the life. There are too many real challenges that sales people face to depend on seminars given by people peddling a particular theory.
The biggest challenges that a sales person faces is often a management team that thinks long term sales success can be rushed. I was once around an executive who expected that multiple large scale enterprise sales should happen at the snap of a finger. Real enterprise sales people get a good laugh out of that story when I tell it.
Then there is obsession that sales managers have with "Big Deals." The best thing a sales manager can do is go on calls with their reps to either learn from them or help them learn. That takes time and a commitment to your people. If you want to be a real sales manager, it is a good place to start.
The most important thing in a sales team is trust. If the sales reps do not trust the management, or if the management team doesn't trust the sales people, then you have a team that will never reach its true potential.