The Absolute Toughest Sales Management Role

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There is one sales management role that is more challenging than any other one. In this episode of the Sales Management Minute, you will learn what that role is and the three keys to making it successful.

When a company reaches a certain revenue level, the decision is made to insert a sales manager to lead the sales team. Oftentimes, this isn’t an outside hire, but rather a “promotion” of a top seller. I put quotes around the word promotion because she isn’t just going to be the sales manager… She’s still going to continue to sell. She is about to become The Selling Manager…also known as the toughest sales management role.

It’s easy to understand why a company pursues this strategy. For one, there is the worry that a major revenue contributor will be lost so keeping her in a sales role protects that…at least in theory. Another is that, by promoting a veteran seller to management, there is institutional knowledge that the sales leader has which reduces ramp-up time.

While this strategy is easy to understand, it’s also a venture that would give even Indiana Jones a moment of pause. A few points to consider…

First, how will you determine the right amount of time to be spent on sales versus management? Since management is new to her, she will likely default to selling versus managing. After all, it’s her strength!

Second, how will you compensate your new sales manager so she focuses on the right parts of the role at the desired frequency level? Remember, the comp plan drives the behavior!

Finally, how will you help her assimilate into the new hybrid role? She’s new to management and you don’t come out of the womb with management skills! Not to mention, yesterday’s peers are today’s subordinates.

Before you create the selling manager role in your company, develop a detailed strategic plan so you get the results you desire. See you next time on the Sales Management Minute.

Lee B. Salz is a leading sales management strategist specializing in helping companies build scalable, high-performance sales organizations through hiring the right salespeople, effectively onboarding them, and aligning their sales activities with business objectives through process, metrics and compensation. He is the Founder and CEO of Sales Architects, Business Expert Webinars and The Revenue Accelerator. Lee has authored several books including award-winning,  best-seller “Hire Right, Higher Profits.” He is a results-driven sales management consultant and a passionate, dynamic speaker . Lee can be reached at lsalz@SalesArchitects.net or 763.416.4321.