The #1 Risk of Premature Sales Promotions
Risk of Premature Sales Promotions
The temptation as a sales leader is strong. You have a star solution seller on your sales team. Your vision is to have your “A player” take on the management and development of the sales team to reward them and to allow you to focus more on sales strategy, major accounts, and creating more predictable and visible long-term revenue growth.
You can just imagine how sales results could soar as your average performers follow the best practices of their new manager and go on to break all previous sales records.
But stop dreaming – it is not going to happen if you promote without thoughtful consideration and preparation. And if you promote for the wrong reasons, you increase the risk of losing your top solution seller AND decreasing the performance of your entire sales team. The whole growth curve could collapse.
Here’s the Problem
Premature sales promotions hurt everyone. Typically, top sales performers are great at selling complex solutions. They know how to identify and attract target customers and rigorously qualify the most promising leads. They know how to make positive initial contact and establish a trusting relationship. They know how to diagnose a customer’s most pressing problems accurately and provide a creative, unique and value-added solution to help. And they know how to negotiate, close the deal and earn status as a trusted advisor. In short, they are expert at solution selling.
Top sales performers, however, are not necessarily great at managing other sales people. Typically they are used to working independently and toward their own targets within areas that are under their control and influence. They typically follow a proven sales process and methodology that works for them, but, similar to Michael Jordan being a great player and a bad coach, many are ineffective at passing that process along to others. They may have been part of a winning sales team but never had to sort out sales territories, craft sales compensation plans or manage team conflict. And they have never had to coach and manage the sales performance of others.
This is not to say that high performing salespeople cannot become high performing sales managers. It just means that you have to pick your candidate for manager carefully, provide them with the training they will need to learn management skills and transition them slowly into the new position.
The Good News
The good news is that much of what your top performer may not yet know how to do can be learned through effective solution selling training and coaching. Choose the salesperson with the right attitudes in place to build and manage a team well. This person should be willing to learn how to read people, communicate clearly, trust and be trusted, coach and guide others, and establish clear and achievable standards and goals that the team can adopt.
The Bottom Line
Premature sales promotions cause nothing but problems. Any investment in developing your sales manager will be well spent. When you have a top performing team, led by a sales manager who has “been there and done that” and who has the sales leadership skills required to lead a sales team effectively, you may well reach those sales revenues you dreamed about.
To learn more about high performing sales leaders, download How to Optimize Your Sales Force in the Face of Increased Performance Pressure