Years of experience in working with sales organizations indicate that very few top sales people succeed in making the transition to become a good sales leader. The intentions of recruiting them are always comprehensible: the allocation with specific understanding in Sales, the opportuntity for the team to learn from the best, rewarding the enhanced person and to bind him/her and of course to allocate someone who has earned the respect of the team due to his/her proven sales competences.
Nevertheless, after a few months the results and motivation had decreased instead of increased – let’s get to the point:
A great seller is lost and at the best – an average manager has been won!
Let’s point out the three main reasons:
1. Focus on the role:
Newly appointed sales managers fail to make the transition from focusing on themselves to focusing on others. They still focusing on themselves, their results, and on their own customers – act like lone warriors – they exactly do what has led them to be successful till now. It is not unusual, that these managers sometimes bring more than 70% of the overall result of the team. Developing people and then being successful if it is the team, an thus only indirectly having more influence on results, is a comprehensive change in the understanding of the own role.
2. From operational tasks to strategic thinking:
Young sales managers often fail to make the transition from operational tasks (sales calls, writing offers, negotiating…) to more abstract strategic tasks (sales strategy, organization, planning, developing others, coaching, Key Account Management, territory management, …). That is why many sales managers usually use a combination of a pacesetting and directive Leadership Style. This gets obvious when you ask them to explain the process of how they achieve success: The will answer: “I don’t know. I’m just successful. Watch me doing it, and try to follow!” Team members who whether can learn through observation, nor can approach tasks with the same personal strengths, obviously will not be led to success.
3. Personal motives:
The tasks that come with being a manager – even if they are clear and feasible for the new manager – are not the ones that he or she really likes to do. So after being proud and motivated by the promotion and its benefits, reality is less tempting: Dealing with problems of employees, encouraging, challenging and controlling them and working on conceptional issues might not be the preferred line of action.
If you want to find the right candidate for a new sales manager position, we suggest that you don’t concentrate on the sales figures of candidates. Search for a person with a good combination of organizational skills and people development skills. Who is good at organizing their territory and sales activities? Who is optimizing their sales process and everyday activities? Who is able to think and plan ahead more than one quarter?
When you find such a person, no matter if he or she is the best sales person or not, give them the opportunity to mentor and develop a team member. If he/she shows that they are able to develop other people to become more successful in sales, you’ve got your candidate for the sales management position!
You may offer him/her a “Transition Coaching” to support your ideal candidate that he/she is able to grow into the new role – and nothing holds you back from your common success.
ARGO has a long-standing experience in the development of sales managers and provides assistance in the whole selection- and the transition process, as well as in team- and leadership development programs!
Please do not hesitate to contact me for details: firstname.lastname@example.org