In KONA’s Sales Training and Sales Management Training and Coaching programs we hear many good and bad examples of promoting a Superstar Sales Person into a Sales Manager role.

Unfortunately, many of the stories suggest that the move to promote Top Performing Salespeople, more often than not backfires.

4 Things to Consider When Promoting Your Top Sales Person to Sales Manager

So, why does this keep on happening?

Having trained 1000s of Sales People, Sales Managers and Team Leaders over the last 16 years, it is imperative that several factors are taken into account that should play an important role in your final decision, regardless of if you are the ‘promoter’ or the person being promoted.

1. Accept That Not all Good Players will be Good Coaches

There are countless examples of individuals who were extremely good ‘players’, but could not back up their experience when they were handed over the role of a coach.

Voss, Taylor, Kirwan, Gretzky, Maradona, the list is endless.

Being a Sales Manager or Team Leader requires a lot more than just mastering the art of selling.

The individual being chosen for the responsibility should display qualities often not found in successful Sales People.

Managers and coaches should not only have the required knowledge of their industry, products, competition, customers and personal rewards, but they must know how to instil motivation into their direct reports and to be able to help them Plan their team’s Activity, Assess Performance, Coach Capabilities and Give Feedback.

In addition, they need to be able to make the transition from being one of the team and a ‘mate’, to having the self-confidence and skills to lead their colleagues.

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2. Does the Salesperson have the required Personality Profile?

Many successful salespeople, once they’re promoted to the role of Manager, crash under the workload because they just don’t have the right personality profile.

Regardless of which Personality Profiling tool you use; be it MBTI, HBDI, TMP, DISC, or another, think about the profile of a Top Sales Performer.

In DISC Profiling terms they are High D (Dominance) and I (Influencers), and can be seen as Aggressive, Impatient, Personal Results before the Organisations, and poor at Admin, often leaving a messy trail behind them as they move on to pursue the next order.

Whereas with a Team Leader or Sales Manager, high Dominance is still important to drive Results, but it needs to be balanced with a strong level of I to Influence others; S – Steadiness and patience to lead by helping others to be successful, and take the limelight. Plus, high C – Compliance is important as they will need to be able to instil effective process and accountabilities.

Basically be far more well-rounded than a ‘sell at all costs’ Sales Person.

If you are considering promoting someone or being promoted, what are the Personality Profiles of your most successful and respected Managers?

Then use their profiles as a benchmark to do a personality assessment of the person being considered for promotion. The role should be given to an aspiring individual, only if their personality matches up to that of a quality Manager.

(Click here to download an example of a DISC Sample Report from this webpage)

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3. Create Bench-strength

A quality sports team is often judged by the strength of the players on their bench, not just those on the field, as a strong bench gives you depth and options for the future.

With best practice, and to further enhance the quality of the Team’s results, do an assessment of the entire sales team.

The assessment would clarify the personality traits of all Sales Person and will help you create a pool of ‘Possibles and Probables’ with the potential to be promoted to a managerial role in future.

You can then put in place a Development Program and Sales Management Training and/or Team Leader Training to prepare the High Potential people for Management rather than dropping them into the job the week after a vacancy arises.

4. Is your Organisation guilty of a Sink or Swim attitude when promoting someone into a Management role?

Knowing where Russia is on a map; that Putin is the President, and that Russians’ favourite drink is Vodka doesn’t mean someone can speak Russian.

Meaning, knowing how to sell doesn’t mean you can Manage and Coach someone else

And yet far too many organisations don’t treat the Profession of Sales Management with respect and hide behind the myth of “They were a good Sales Person so should be able to manage others”.

Worse still they drop a successful Sales Person into the role then leave them to work it out themselves, on the job, ‘practising’ with their real life team.

Even in the current era, we still hear far too often a Manager sticking out his/her chest and proudly saying “it didn’t do me any harm and toughened me up learning on the job, so why change it?”

No mention of all of those who Managers didn’t make it and were lost to the business; or those Direct Reports who were affected along the way and not given the Coaching and Direction that they needed to be successful, resulting in good people going elsewhere.

Final thought:

We have all heard of the stats that it can cost you up to twice a Sales Person’s wage to replace them, so now imagine the cost of replacing the (promoted) Sales Person PLUS the costs of then losing them as a Manager?

Absolutely frightening!

So is your organisation really managing the way you Identify, Promote and Develop your Managers?

Or are you hoping that this Person will be different……..

……..Because Hope Is Not a Strategy!

The KONA Group is Australia’s Leading Sales Training and Sales Management Training and Coaching company and provide Customised Training programs that include:  Sales Training & CoachingSales Pipeline TrainingKey Account Management TrainingCall Centre Training & coachingNegotiation Skills Training & CoachingMotivational SpeakersHR ConsultingDISC and MBTI, and more.

If you are looking to increase the effectiveness and results of your organisation, contact KONA today on 1300 611 288 or text 0425200883 or email info@www.kona.com.au to discuss how we can help you to improve your organisation’s results.