March 29, 2011
Here is an article from Eye on Sales that addresses a common sales management topic – should you promote your top salesperson into the sales manager role? I would argue that the conventional wisdom is to avoid making this mistake.
From the article:
Sales management mistake #1: Promoting top performers to sales managers
Top-performing salespeople are not necessarily top managers. Leaders often fail to evaluate their best sales professionals for their ability and aptitude to manage before placing them in a leadership position. It seems like an easy decision to promote the best, but in reality you might be taking one of your most potent weapons out of the game and placing them in a position that is not well-suited for them. As a result, the company as a whole loses – the individual is unhappy, the salespeople he’s managing are underperforming, and the company is missing out on potential sales.
Solution: There are many assessment tools that can accurately predict management aptitude – use them. I find it baffling when so many firms roll the dice on salespeople and sales managers when there are quantitative, validated, and reliable evaluations available that are accurate predictors of success. Don’t assume that because an individual is a top performer in sales that they’ll be able to manage sales people. It just doesn’t work like that.
I get the point…in fact I have written similarly myself. Assessments are the key as they can provide you with an edge when it comes to interviewing candidates and determining their fit to the position’s requirements. Not surprisingly, I strongly agree with the author on this topic.
I have a slightly different take on promoting top performing salespeople – they know how to “get ‘er done.” I have seen many underperforming salespeople who seem to be in vapor lock. They aren’t sure what to do either strategically or tactically. Top selling salespeople have a tactical efficiency to them that can truly undergird an entire sales team. They can teach the team how to get ‘er done.
In this light, strong salespeople can be a force multiplier for a sales team. Granted, it doesn’t work in all situations, but I do think the conventional wisdom has shifted too far away from this approach.