It’s not uncommon for star sales reps to be promoted or otherwise move into sales management. Unfortunately, top salespeople aren’t necessarily the best sales managers. The sales manager is a critical role, and you must select the right person for it. If the wrong individual is chosen, there may be significant costs to your organization.
When you promote your top salesperson into a management role, you effectively eliminate the revenue generated by them, and bet on their ability to effectively coach their new sales team to meet team goals. Plus, according to research, one in two people leave their job to get away from their manager. Turnover on a sales team means interviews, new hires, onboarding, ramp-up, training, and more. Therefore, it’s important to be absolutely certain that your star sales rep will excel as a manager before moving them into the position.
Without a crystal ball, how can you be certain when considering this move? There are telltale signs that reveal whether your star salesperson is likely to excel as a sales manager. Watch for these indicators well in advance of pulling the trigger to avoid making a costly mistake.
Great interpersonal and communication skills
Sales management involves many interactions where clear and effective communication is critical. Whether it’s one-on-one’s, team meetings or sales calls, these skills can make or break the success of any rep or manager. They’re especially important in management where a lack of soft skills might directly impact coaching quality and team performance. So, before you promote your star sales rep, ensure they are excellent communicators.
Excellent time management and organization
The requirements of a manager’s day-to-day schedule require forethought, planning, and organization. Reps who fly by the seat of their pants without preparation will definitely struggle under relentless daily calendar requirements if promoted. Sales reps who manage their time well will more easily maintain the rigorous schedule sales managers must follow to be successful.
Serves as a mentor, coach or role model without being asked
Sales reps don’t need to be in management positions to mentor, coach or act as role models. If a rep is doing so without being asked, they may be an excellent candidate for advancement. Whether they practice answering objections with colleagues, volunteer to participate in peer-to-peer sales coaching, or set a great example for other team members, this is the type of rep who’s more likely to excel in a sales management position. These behaviors show that they’ve already developed a key skill required for such a role.
Proactively seeks continuous improvement
Reps who always try to raise the bar by performing better are great sales management candidates. They recognize where they’re weakest and request help or look for a solution. They continually strive to increase their abilities and are students of their craft. Team members like this will actively grow into any new role they take on.
These humble reps realize that there’s always room for improvement, and actively look for ways to improve their performance through their own observations and input from others. They’re truly open to feedback and embrace continuous learning. These coachable sales reps accept accountability for their own performance and growth. This is key to their success, and translate well from a rep to a sales manager who will be coachable and understands the importance of consistent coaching for their team.
Knows how to work through struggles
Reps who have faced challenges and conquered them successfully are better sales management candidates. Without this experience how will they be able to help their team members empathetically work through their own struggles? Plus, the advance into management will bring new challenges. Having survived others in the past will have helped them build the confidence to forge forward when the going gets tough. This increases the odds of their success in their potential new role.
Understands the big picture
The best sales management candidates know the workings of the entire operation, what influences cross-departmental decisions, how priorities are set and how these influence overall revenue growth and performance. This sort of understanding is key when interacting with other departments. Plus, this knowledge allows them to provide better guidance to their team members so they make wiser business decisions, plan better, and effectively utilize their resources.
Not all star salespeople will necessarily excel as a sales manager. To prevent making a costly mistake when choosing to implement such a promotion, always take the time to evaluate candidates for these characteristics. Doing so will increase the odds of a successful transition.