There is a leader on every sales team. Always selling. Always closing. As a sales manager, your job would be so much easier if you could clone this master of the selling arts and unleash an army of them upon your suspect or prospect list.
You certainly don’t ever want this person to leave your company, and they deserve to be rewarded for consistently crushing their goals. So why not promote them to a sales leadership role?
Sales Skills vs Management Skills
Strong sales skills are not the same as strong management skills. In fact, the two skill sets can be diametrically opposed to one another.
Corporate logic sometimes dictates that top department performers are rewarded with a promotion to management, but this logic does not apply to the sales department and who should be managing your sales team.
Lone Wolves Don’t Long for the Pack…
While other corporate players are interested in moving up the ladder, top salespeople are interested in closing more business and increasing their quarterly bonuses. The best closer on your sales team really only has one boss: their quota. So long as they keep their closing numbers up, they have the privilege of keeping their autonomy.
Place an aggressive, highly motivated, competitive sales person in a management role and they will flounder. Management calls for calm, diplomatic team players with strong self-regulation skills. These are two very different people.
Top Salespeople Aren’t in the Mood to Teach…
Sales is highly competitive. Those who have risen to the top of the sales game are often the most aggressive people on your team- and the least interested in sharing glory. A top salesperson just wants to get the sale closed.
Rather than take the time to guide a less experienced, struggling, or slower salesperson through the closing process, a top-salesperson-turned-sales-manager will just run them over and close the deal.
This is counterproductive to overall team performance. The junior sales member comes away feeling inept, and less motivated. The only thing the junior sales member learns from interactions like this? That the sales manager is a bully who steals their sales and can’t be trusted.
Sales People Can Only See 2 Colors…
A good closer sees deals in black and white: “if my prospect has a pain, and I have a solution, we have a deal.” They’re just like a lawyer asking questions until they can boil down an argument to a simple “yes” or “no.” But this attitude is not a trait of good sales leaders, sales leaders must remain flexible and recognize grey areas.
For example, the new guy on the team has a hot personal lead in somebody else’s geographic territory. Who gets the commission? The person who opened the deal ,or the person who relies on that territory for their income?
Managers can see gray. They have the judgement to make difficult calls, and devise compromises that don’t fracture the team. Top sales people have no patience for compromise, they believe their time is better spent closing deals. And they are right.
Still considering promoting your top salesperson to management? Assess your candidate using tools such as the UPtick™ platform to understand their strengths, skills and limitations. That way you will have the insight to make well-informed changes to team structure.