When a salesperson gains promotion to management the first thing they have to do is to quickly acquaint themselves with a new set of working relationships - and a new set of rules.
The salesperson's primary working relationships are with customers. However the sales manager's is with the sales force i.e. his subordinates.
Essential Attributes Include:
- Personal drive (Ego).
- Needs to win battles (Individual sales).
- Able to work alone.
- Persuades customers to see his/her point.
- Needs selling skills, personal skills and knowledge.
- Able to work away from the office.
- Works well with people and numbers.
- Good at implementing sales tactics.
Successful Sales Manager:
- Submission of personal needs to the goals of the Company (Corporate drive).
- Needs to win the war (Meet corporate goals).
- Able to work with others.
- Persuades the sales team to see the Company's point.
- Needs management skills and marketing knowledge.
- Needs to work at the office.
- Works well with people, numbers, paperwork and the corporate hierarchy.
- Good at developing sales and marketing strategies.
The most common danger in having sales managers who are basically super salespeople is that "relations with subordinates" including the critical tasks of development and supervision may deteriorate.
Lack of skills and resources:
Even when they do recognize the importance of developing their salespeople, many sales managers find that they lack the skills and resources to do it effectively. It then becomes easier not to bother.
An Overwhelmed Manager:
To make things worse, most sales teams consist of a number of individuals with differing levels of experience and ability, so the whole issue of team development becomes too daunting for the overwhelmed manager to contemplate.
The Answer? - Divine Intervention From Above:
Sales Directors who recognise that the different roles played by salespeople and managers require different skill sets; factor those differences into their recruitment and selection of sales managers. Instead of promoting top-performers purely on the strength of their sales performance, these Sales Directors look for management candidates who can demonstrate an ability to help others strategise, work effectively with customers, and build their self-confidence. These Sales Directors recognise that coaching competence is absolutely pivotal and feature it highly in managers' performance reviews and remuneration packages.
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Jonathan Farrington is a business coach, mentor, author, and consultant who has helped hundreds of companies and thousands of individuals around the world achieve their full potential and consequently, optimum performance levels in his capacity as Managing Partner of The jfa Group http://www.jf-assocs.com