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  • Brett Zalaski

Is Your Future Selling or Managing?


One of the questions I get asked by reps a lot is about their next job. If it's inside sales, how long should it take to get to AE status? If it's AE, how long to Sr. AE? And AE's & Sr. AE's alike are constantly asking me two questions:

  1. Should I be a manager or seller?

  2. How long should it take for me to be a manager?

Here's the thing, there's no one answer to this question. These questions should have individual answers for individual people. If you want to be a seller and not a manager, don't fall into the pressure of taking a manager job just because it's what people say you should do. If you want to sell, keep selling. I've seen WAY too many sales reps fall into that I need to manage to make more money and advance mindset. Work with your management team to make sure you're vocal about wanting to continue to sell, and that they incentivize you to do it. Great, senior salespeople who enhance the team culture are invaluable to an organization. And don't forget, you don't have to just sell groups and seasons ad nauseum. You can move on to sell premium or sponsorships, too...there's plenty of opportunities to continue to grow as a salesperson.


If you want to manage people when you answer that question...awesome! Head to the second question. The answer here? Again, entirely individual. You need to make sure you are ready to be a manager. What does that mean? Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are my results enough to support my case to be manager?

  2. Am I in a place where my experiences in #sportsbiz have told me that I want to manage, not sell, right now? (You can always manage in the future. If you have something to prove...go prove it!)

  3. Am I ready to sacrifice my personal control of the sales process to be at the mercy of other people who are probably (definitely) worse at sales than I am?

  4. Am I knowledgeable enough about my process and sales itself that I can help everyone from a first year rep to an advanced sales rep?

  5. Am I knowledgeable of the resources I have around me to support me as I learn to become a sales manager?

I have seen lots of insanely talented reps who were not ready to manage, fail as managers. It doesn't mean that they weren't going to be good managers. They just weren't ready to say 'yes' to the questions asked above. And that's ok. Your timeline of success doesn't have to mirror or beat anyone else's. Your career is a marathon...not a sprint. Your answers to all the questions above can change at any point...so keep asking them to yourself. I've seen more reps fail because they tried to push the timeline...and the most successful continue to make decisions for themselves, not for the career they wished they had. Man I love this quote on the right!