Why Great Sales People Makes Lousy Sales Managers
Great sales people are essential to the success of any business and it’s common practice in most companies to promote these sales people into sales management. Like many things in sales, what seems to makes perfect sense and be completely logical, can actually be the wrong thing to do.
Whilst we are not saying never promote your best sales person into sales management as there are obviously exceptions you should be aware of; there are potential downsides of promoting your best sales performer as follows:
1) Skills – the skill set required to be a great manager is very different to those required to be a great sales person and unless the company invests in developing the sales person, and equally important unless the sales person wants to learn then, it’s going to be a difficult journey. For example the ability to coach other sales people is a vital skill for management yet one of the most common challenges for great sales people.
2) Natural Ability – often good sales people have a natural ability that even they don’t quite understand. This makes it very difficult for them to coach other sales people and transfer those skills to the wider team. Furthermore their natural ability for selling is just that – it’s not a natural ability for managing people, strategising and planning, which are all essentials of a great manager.
3) Money – not only will your revenues drop as your top sales performer has to spend more time on non-selling activity, this often results in a drop in their own personal earnings which can then be demotivating.
Unfortunately as many good sales people are ambitious the choice lies between promoting them and retaining them, and without a solid retention and development plan, the top performers will leave if they are not promoted to management. These retention and development plans are not exclusive to big business but they are exclusive to good, well organised sales leadership. In addition to great sales people making poor sales managers many entrepreneurs share the same problem, as their natural abilities help drive early stage sales growth, but they then struggle to recruit, retain and build a sales team.
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