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Should We Care About Job Titles?

by Johnny Bravo · 10 comments

Should We Care About Job Titles?Sales Representative, Account Executive, Enterprise Account Manager, Business Development Associate, etc.

These titles could all potentially describe the same position. The same responsibilities, the same place in the hierarchy.

So considering that, is your title important? Should we give weight to a title?

Yes and no…

How’s that for a non-answer? Unfortunately its as good as I can do since it depends on the situation.

Let’s go over a couple of examples. Both of which I am sure you’ve come across at some point in your career as a sales person.

Have you ever been in a situation where you are dealing with a customer who doesn’t like what you have to say, so you’re boss joins the conversation. Your boss says the exact same thing as you and the customer is OK with it.

Sound familiar? This is an instance where title does matter. Often customers, especially disgruntle ones, need to hear the message from a higher authority. No it does not make the information more right nor does it change the information.

But from the customer’s perspective, hearing it from your boss gives greater weight to the information.

Many times this is simply a matter of trust. Something I work hard to develop the moment I start talking with a customer or prospect.

Another example may be familiar when job hunting. When I was last looking for a job I often came across the title of “Sales Manager”. More often than not it was for a smaller company or a smaller territory then normally seen.

In my experience a Sales Manager is a management position. However, based on the description and job responsibilities, this was clearly an outside sales / business development position. There would be no direct reports and as such the position as described was an individual contributor role.

Definitely not what I would consider a Sales Manager. In this case title didn’t much matter. The title Sales Manager was used interchangeably with Sales Associate or Account Executive.

Don’t Focus On Title

Although I would love to have the title of VP of Sales, if my responsibilities were more in line with the title of Account Executive I could very well give the wrong impression to those I come in contact with.

Title Inflation as I call it.

In my opinion its as if a title is being used to make someone sound more important than they really are. And as I’ve referenced previously:

“Power is like being a woman, if you have to tell people you are, then you aren’t” ~ Margaret Thatcher

Let your actions and knowledge speak for your title. Build trust and it won’t matter if you are a junior titled sales person or the VP of Sales. They will trust that what you tell them is true.

What do you think? Should we care about titles?

~Johnny Bravo

Image courtesy of pakorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeri April 3, 2013 at 10:35 am

I’m of the yes and no camp when it comes to titles. As a teacher, I could never decide if I would prefer to be a teacher, an instructor, a coach, or a facilitator. I lean towards facilitator, but to use that term with most people, they just give you a funny look, even though it is the most apt term in my opinion.

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Johnny Bravo April 12, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Absolutely, and when you explain facilitator how often did they say “oh! like a teacher”? There is something to be said about the familiarity with some titles over others.

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