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The Business Executive's Dilemma: Should I Promote My Top Sales Person to Sales Manager?
Guest articles > The Business Executive's Dilemma: Should I Promote My Top Sales Person to Sales Manager?
by: Lee B. Salz
Before moving your top sales person into sales management, there are some key considerations.
Early Greek mythology tells tales of sailors lured by Sirens. Their sweet music mesmerized the sailors and led them to believe that the illusion was reality. Ultimately, those sailors who blindly followed the tunes crashed their ships on the rocks and their boats sank.
Sirens lure business executives and small business owners too. The song that the Sirens sing has one line… "Promote my top sales person, put six people underneath them, and generate six times the sales." And, like the sailors, many business executives and their companies have been led into harm's way.
A promotion? The first issue with promoting your top sales person into sales management is that it's not a promotion at all. The promotion perception is the first way the Sirens get you. Sales management is not a job elevation, it's a job change. If you consider this move as a promotion, you probably send a congratulatory email and hold a luncheon for the new sales manager. A nice handshake is offered and the new manager is sent to achieve grandeur. This approach delights the Sirens and your ship is sunk!
If you handle this as a job change, your approach is completely different. Since this is a new job, you provide training and mentoring as well as monitor their performance. As the manager of the new sales manager, your role is to help them successfully assimilate into their new role.
Top Seller = Top Sales Manager? Before we go any further, we need to take a step back. The second way the Sirens trick you is they lead you to believe all great sales people can become great sales managers. Some certainly do. And, some pretty good sales people become rock star managers. And some great sales people fail miserably at sales management.
Before moving your top sales person into the sales management ranks, consider the ramifications of this move. You are taking your rainmaker out of the sales game where they've generated millions of dollars for your company. While your hope is that your theory of "disciple selling" (placing six people underneath the new manager and getting six times the sales) becomes proven, that is rarely the case. If it was so easy to clone a rainmaker, every company would do it. Quite frankly, the "disciple selling" dream is flawed. Again, you've been duped by the Sirens. The sole reason to place someone in the role of sales manager is that you feel that they have the potential to succeed in that capacity.
What does all of this tell you? You need a process and methodology to evaluate sales management candidates...just like you evaluate sales candidates. And, even though the rainmaker got on your radar screen because they blew out their quota, their sales management candidacy should be handled the same way you would if you were considering an external sales management candidate. Don't skip any steps in the evaluation process!
Profile the Role. This evaluation starts with the development of your profile of the ideal sales manager for your company. Think about what it takes to succeed in the role and document those elements as part of your profile. Once you've prepared your list, identify each element as either required or desired.
With your profile developed, the next step is to develop a screening process that allows you to compare and contrast the candidate with the profile. It is critical during this process that you ascertain why this successful seller aspires for management and ensure that you set clear and accurate expectations of a day in the life as a sales manager in your company. In addition to interviews, you may want to consider tools to help identify a synergistic match like personality and proficiency assessments.
If your rainmaker succeeds in the evaluation process, you've found your sales manager. If not, don’t lose the revenue! Keep this seller selling!
Positioning Your New Sales Manager to Succeed. With your new sales manager hired, there are four keys to making the venture successful.
Sales is one of the few professions where moving into management isn't always the best path for the sales person or the company. Make sure the person you put in this critical role is the right sales manager for your company. After all, while this person may not be directly generating sales, they are the one responsible for the company achieving its revenue goals. Don't let the Sirens lure your business into trouble. Develop the systems to help you make the best decisions.
Not sure how to interview sales people for a sales management job, send me an email for my 29 favorite questions when interviewing new sales manager candidates.
Lee B. Salz is a sales management guru who helps companies hire the right sales people, on-board them, and focus their sales activity using his sales architecture® methodology. He is the President of Sales Architects, the C.E.O. of Business Expert Webinars and author of “Soar Despite Your Dodo Sales Manager.” Lee is an online columnist for Sales and Marketing Management Magazine, a print columnist for SalesforceXP Magazine, and the host of the Internet radio show, “Secrets of Business Gurus.” Look for Lee's new book in February 2009 titled, "The Sales Marriage” where he shares the secrets to hiring the right sales people. He is a passionate, dynamic speaker and a business consultant. Lee can be reached at lsalz@SalesArchitecture.com or 763.416.4321.
Keywords: sales techniques, sales strategy, lost sales, sales management, sales consulting, sales training, strategic accounts, closing skills
Contributor: Lee B. Salz
Published here on: 17-Jan-10