Sales management has little to do with managing and everything to do with leading, teaching and coaching.
Question from a reader:
"What are your thoughts on taking the best salesperson and making him a sales manager?"
Answer: This is a great idea if you want to gain potentially a bad manager and lose your best salesperson.
The most difficult jump in business, for two basic reasons, is from salesperson to sales manager. The first reason is companies don't train managers before allowing them to take the position. And second, the company fails to beef up the sales force to absorb the loss.
Here's what usually occurs: 1
The great salesperson stops daily selling.2
The great salesperson is provided little or no sales-management training.3
The unprepared sales manager is placed in the awkward position of going from friend to boss.4
The unprepared sales manager is now responsible for all squabbles, and will tend to play favourites based on your pre-existing friendships.5
The unprepared sales manager is now responsible to train all personnel, but uses his own techniques for selling, which are not universally applicable.6
The unprepared sales manager has a total lack of understanding that he must be a coach, a leader and a teacher. If you're thinking about elevating a great salesperson to a manager, why don't you insert the word "great" in front of manager before you give the promotion? For that to occur, you need six months between the time you offer the position and actually have the salesperson take over.
Here's what needs to happen: 1
The prospective sales manager takes courses to learn coaching skills.2
Employees are brought in to talk about how they will cooperate with and work harder for their new boss.3
The manager remains a part-time player. It's important for the new manager stay in touch with what his salespeople are doing in the field by remaining an active salesperson.4
Specific achievement benchmarks are set for the team.5
The new manager meets with team members individually to agree on a game plan for their success.6
The new manager harnesses the power of encouragement. The new manager will fail if he tries to be a tough boss. By becoming an encouraging boss, he will be seen as one who helps people succeed. Sales management has little to do with managing and everything to do with leading, teaching and coaching. If you're a great salesperson looking to be promoted into a management position, follow the advice that has been given to every Boy Scout for the last 100 years: