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Ryan changed jobs and companies this week when he started in his new role as Business Development Manager. When I congratulated him on his new job he wrote back the following:
"You were 110% on the money back when I became a first time sales manager. You told Stuart and me that my biggest challenge would be in not being able to understand why the hell sales reps working for me just didn't do what I did when I was selling, and what I asked them to do, since I always did what was asked of me when I was a field rep for Stu. Totally on the money, that drove me crazy every day."
We talk a lot about the mistake so many companies make when they take their best salespeople and make them sales managers. While it's not always a mistake, the most commonly discussed reasons include:
- Inability to replace that salesperson's significant revenue
- Lack of sales management skills
- Lack of recruiting skills
- Lack of coaching skills
- Lack of skills around accountability
- The new sales manager might not be able to get salespeople to sell the same way
- Things that made this person successful as a salesperson might not be duplicable
- Resistance to move away from selling and reluctance to allow salespeople to make their own mistakes
In addition to those 8 reasons, Ryan's note highlights the single most frustrating chain of events to impact new sales managers.
New sales managers have a tremendous sense of optimism when they embark on the next chapter of their careers. They believe that their sales success is duplicable and all they have to do is show their salespeople what they do and their salespeople will be able to do it.
Nothing could be further from the reality of the situation.
For starters, the former sales managers might be successful more because of their intangibles than having mastered 21 Sales Core Competencies.
Their salespeople could have weaknesses in their Sales DNA that would prevent them from doing what their new sales managers can do. When Sales DNA fails to support effective selling, Sales Managers can show and tell until they are blue in the face and their salespeople still won't be able to replicate their words and actions.
Their salespeople could be deficient in their Will to Sell, their tactical selling competencies or their understanding of business and finance. There are many possible factors that cause 77% of all salespeople to suck and most sales managers, lacking effective coaching and training skills, are simply not equipped to overcome them. At some point in their first year, the reality of their situation becomes more obvious and they default to the only solution they know for increasing sales. Themselves.
They turn their salespeople into bird dogs and whenever there is a decent opportunity that isn't a slam dunk, they show up or get on the phone and help their salespeople close the business. While this does serve as a short-term solution, it's not a very good long term strategy. The sales manager takes all of the credit, the salespeople fail to improve, they feel demotivated and unimportant, and eventually leave.
There is no shortcut to sales management success. Sales Managers must develop the necessary skills to coach effectively so that they impact deals that their salespeople close, impact profit, win rates, retention, morale and revenue.
If you or your sales managers need to develop this rare ability to coach up a sales team, won't you join me for my top-rated Sales Leadership Intensive? I offer it only once each year and it's coming up on May 17-18 outside of Boston. There is still time to plan your attendance, and you'll leave the two days finally understanding and possessing the ability to impact a sales force. Learn more here. Use the discount code DK-Blog-Subscriber to receive a $100 discount off the price of a ticket. We limit attendance to only 25 sales leaders so register early or, like we used to say at the end of each Red Sox baseball season, wait until next year!