It’s so simple, so obvious, you couldn’t help but be drawn in. Bob is your top producer. Bob knows the systems better than anyone on the team. Bob can sell with his wireless headset tied behind his back. So when the time came to hire a manager for the team you had no doubt in your mind. Bob was the choice. Now you’re 6 months into your “Bob the Manager” experience and it’s a complete disaster.
Bob is frustrated, his team is frustrated, you’re frustrated, and the numbers are tanking. How can this be? You keep asking yourself…what’s wrong with Bob?
The answer is that you hired Bob based on his abilities as a rep, not his ability to be a manager. They are two different jobs, and being good at one does not automatically make you good at the other. Think about when you first hired Bob out of school. Did you hire him because he was a good student or because he showed the skills, attitude, and characteristics of your top sales reps?
You didn’t assume that because he was doing well at his current job (student) that he would automatically be good as a sales rep. You hired him because he was able to display skills that were consistent with people who are good at sales and then you trained him to do the job.
You need to take the same approach when hiring a Manager – screen and hire candidates based on how well their skills and abilities match up with the profile of a strong sales leader. And by the way, then you need to train them! (Doh!) I mean really, do they need to be a strong closer or an accurate forecaster? Truth is, great sales reps actually have to UN-learn some skills to be a great sales manager. . .and they’re not going to know how to do it without some development.
I’ve attached a clip from last year’s AA-ISP Leadership Summit that talks about why this is such an important topic, and what you can do about it. And the fact that it made my Top 10 list means that you can rest assured that you’re not the only one that’s made this mistake.
Here’s a sneak peek at the 4 tips for Sales Manager development, watch the video for all the details:
- Provide Management training and job training (yeah, they’re different!)
- Stay away from vague management / leadership theory
- Whenever you train your reps on a new skill, train your managers on how to recognize and coach it
- Check out the AISM (http://www.aa-isp.org/AISM.php) accreditation from the AA-ISP.
If you’re not already planning to attend, there is still time to register for the AA-ISP Leadership Summit where there are LOTS of great tips on developing your management team.
Let me know if you’re attending and we’ll get you hooked up with a discount!