What Sales Makers Want From a Sales Manager
by Matt Demery
Having coached a number of people in different roles in different organisations I find that the managers I’m coaching often have been promoted because they were really good at their previous role i.e. account executives becoming a sales manager, the assumption being “if they were good at that role, they will be good at the new one”.
This can create a problem on more than one level.
- You take the person away from the job they enjoyed doing (and were good at), losing a valuable asset and contributor to the organisation, and;
- The skills and abilities that made them successful in the first place, may not be the ones they need to succeed in their new role. Does the person you’re looking to promote have the new skills required?
If we take account managers being promoted to sales managers, the person being promoted might think their role is modelling effective behaviours in the following skills:
- Devising next steps and taking ownership of those next steps themselves.
- Time Management and managing their day efficiently.
- Pipeline Management & Closing Opportunities.
I would suggest that these are good skills to have, but sales professionals demand and need more from their sales managers. If the sales manager always does the above for their team, how does the team grow?
The above skills need to supplemented with the following:
- Performance Coaching Skills - How to get the best from their team members. This includes giving praise when good things happen and providing effective feedback when things don’t go as planned.
- Flexible Leadership skills - Do they really know when to coach, when to mentor and when to direct?
- Adapting their natural style to aid communication with all of their team members - One size doesn’t fit all when selling, nor does it when managing and motivating.
- Acting as a conduit between the sales makers and the higher levels of the organisation - Helping them to decipher the overall strategy into a meaningful, executable and productive set of actions.
One set of skills is about “doing themselves” the other is about “enabling others to do for themselves”. Sales managers need to grow the skills base of their people, for two reasons:
- The sales manager has a finite amount of time available each and every day. You can throw more people at a problem, and if budget permits, more money. But, you can’t get more time.
- Targets always increase year on year and it’s impossible to grow a business based on the efforts of a single person. Everyone needs to make a contribution and your new sales manager’s key contribution and responsibility is now one of enablement and facilitation.
So before you promote you star sales person to be the new sales manager ask yourself these questions:
- Can you afford to take that person away from the job they enjoy doing (and are good at)?
- What skills do they need in the new role? Have they demonstrated they have them? Or at least want to acquire them? Which leads me onto ...
- What is their motivation for taking the role? Money? Kudos? If they don’t express a desire to develop others or recognise that as a key part of the role, you might be putting a square peg in a round hole.
Matt combines his coaching and mentoring skills with over 15 years of management experience with Information Technology vendors and Tier 1 channel partners, in positions which have included leading and developing high performing UK teams across Sales, Marketing, Finance and Operations functions.
Matt coaches individuals to deliver improved and sustainable performance, delivered across both face to face and virtual environments. He also works with leaders of all levels to increase their communication, influencing and leadership capabilities to increase the performance of their teams.
Matt is also a member of the both the International Coach Federation and the European Mentoring and Coaching Council and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.
Matt's coaching qualifications include a Certificate in Coaching and Mentoring Practice and Certificate in Professional Coaching Practice."