Many companies, especially those that are starting out often make the mistake of promoting a good sales representative to the post of a sales manager. This tends to be a wrong judgment in most cases. Just because a person may have done a stellar job as an individual contributor, does not mean he or she will become a good sales manager as well. Knowing the playing field is one thing, but to become the coach is an entirely different issue. According to an in-house research conducted by a business development consultant to the medical industry, Drew Stevens (PhD, and author of split second selling), the decision of promoting a sales representative to the post of a manager has proven to be wrong 77% of the time.
It is indeed essential to know what qualities make a good sales manager. In this article five qualities are discussed in detail.
To learn from failure
It has been observed that sales reps who were not successful in sales execution, often tend to make good managers. They may have qualities that enable them to strategize and plan. Having had the experience of failing, they often employ it for the purpose of teaching their subordinates i.e to overcome the hurdles through persistence. However, it is also seen that the best salespeople often flounder at management. They usually do not believe in learning through failure, and often take over due to their fear of losing. This results in poor management, and what’s more, their subordinates cannot really learn anything in the process.
Understand the importance of teamwork
The sales manager should have interests aligned with his/her organization as well as his/her subordinates. He/she should be motivated by the ‘we’ factor. Therefore, promoting team spirit and listening to one’s subordinates are essential qualities that define a good sales manager. He/she should consult his/her team members when faced with a problem, explain to them clearly what the goals are and carry his/her team forward to work towards the solution. Moreover, a good sales manager should be able to promote harmony among her team members and should be able to solve disputes that arise among the members.
It has been found that sales representatives who has had a greater tenure in a particular company, tends to make a good sales manager. This person will already be familiar with the organization and mission of that organization. Moreover, in contrast to a quick transition, transition after a long tenure will help to avoid problems like customer dysfunction and inability to lead.
Not to fall for the blame game
It is often noticed that there is discontent between different departments. For example, the sales team may complain that the leads provided by the marketing department are of poor quality, whereas, the marketing team may assert that the sales team is lackluster in pursuing their leads with enthusiasm. A good manager should be able to eradicate this blame culture.
Ability to analyze and provide proper feedback to sales representatives
It is beneficial to analyze what the sales representatives did, that enabled the project to be a success and discuss what improvements can be done in the future. Also, to enable constructive criticism of the sales reps, one should be able to take feedbacks from them enabling a mutually beneficial process that will make the company more efficient.
Being a sales manager is indeed not that easy and this fact is apparent from the qualities that are required to be a good sales manager. To choose a suitable candidate from the sales representatives to work in management requires careful evaluation of their skills and it is essential to look for candidates who perform well in a team and are able to motivate everyone to strive to achieve the goals of the company as well as their personal goals.