Every once in awhile a great salesperson has what it takes to be a great sales manager, but it’s rare. Yet, many CEOs still promote top salespeople to sales manager hoping that their sales skills will somehow rub off on the other salespeople and sales will magically increase. More often than not, the newly anointed sales manager doesn’t know what he or she doesn’t know, so he or she mimics the bad behavior of previous sales managers.
Nine common traits between superstar salespeople and great sales managers
CEOs often struggle with understanding what, if any skills crossover between sales managers and salespeople. According to the Objective Management Group (OMG), which has evaluated over 700,000 salespeople and managers, there are only nine common traits between salespeople and sales managers that are necessary to be effective in both roles:
- Asks questions.
- Has no need for approval.
- Controls emotions.
- Knows why people buy.
- Knows how people buy.
- Effective at getting commitments.
- Effective when asking questions.
- Has goals and a plan.
- Effective at bonding and building rapport.
These nine traits are important, but when you account for the fact that the OMG tools we use review 41 different characteristics when evaluating the competencies of a sales manager, these nine traits represent only 22 percent of the possible desirable traits. There are 32 other traits that were not necessary for a salesperson to do an effective job selling but are necessary to do an effective job managing. Download a sample evaluation. So why is it that we promote salespeople to manager and then just expect them to do it right?
How to know if your sales manager is right for the job?
It is actually fairly rare that we find superstar salespeople who make great sales managers. I found one example recently, and wrote this case study, “To Promote or Not to Promote” which you can download. If you are dissatisfied with your sales team, look first at the sales manager. If you are a sales manager, show this article to your CEO and download the Sales Leadership Toolkit. The toolkit focuses on activity management, pipeline management and coaching, which will help you drive sales results through your team.
Gretchen Gordon is founder and president of Braveheart Sales Performance, which improves the sales effectiveness of middle market companies by transforming underperforming sales teams. Each salesperson and the sales manager undergo a data-driven diagnosis; the processes and pipeline are analyzed; and skills and processes are improved with coaching, training and counsel. The outcome is increased sales at higher profit.
Contact Gordon at
or (614) 396-6544