It takes a special kind of person to succeed as a front-line sales leader. I was in that role for three years and found it to be both the hardest and most rewarding thing that I’ve ever done, outside of having children. A lot is asked of you, from recruiting, to training, to retention, to driving revenue, to negotiating deals, to creating executive relationships, to knocking down internal obstacles, to account strategy. As a sales leader, you carry a lot of responsibility on your shoulders.
A good sales leader is someone who can multitask and stay cool under stressful circumstances, who can be very focused on execution but at the same time take a broader, organization wide view. And you have to transition from caring just about yourself; it's like when you become a parent. You are now responsible for the success of a team of account executives (AEs), not just your own success.
If you're looking for more autonomy, being the quarterback, and the thrill of crushing your number, then remaining an account executive is an incredible option. But if you're looking to challenge yourself and broaden your impact on the organization, front-line sales leadership is the way to go. In the end, amidst all of the noise that comes at you as a sales leader, success will come down to your ability to focus on these three things: deeply knowing your AEs, your customers, and your deals.