Becoming A Sales Manager

'Your manager is leaving … you’ve been in sales for years and do a good job, so we will make you the new Sales Manager. I'm sure you'll be fine at it.'”

This is an all too common scenario for many newly promoted sales leaders, but managing people, especially sales people, requires quite a different set of skills meaning that even the most proficient sales person needs to learn the skills required to manage and motivate others.

Naturally, any new Sales Manager wants to get it right. Additionally, team members want a Sales Manager they can trust to do a good job, motivate and positively support them. The Sales Director and Human Resources team all want to know they made the right decision in choosing the person they have promoted or employed.

So why is it that successful sales professionals don't cope with the step up into a management role?

Often those responsible for the new appointment either don't recognise or fail to mention that the skills needed to manage sales people are very different to those needed to succeed in the sales role the person has just left.

The successful sales person’s focus has been on achieving targets, aiming to win company incentives for high sales figures and being competitive with others in the team. In other words, on achieving results themselves and not through others. Without the knowledge that new skills are required, the newly promoted Sales Manager can't successfully make the adjustment.

Add to this the commercial pressures to achieve sales figures, most new Sales Managers are lucky if they get a half-day of training to help them develop the skills they are expected to have in their new position. Many don't get any training at all. Statistics also show that Sales Managers who receive training do so only after they have been in the role for a significant period of time, by which time habits – often bad ones - have become entrenched.

Trying to manage a sales team without the right tools for the job will lead to disappointing sales results and a demotivated sales force. The net result is that such Sales Managers are deemed to have failed. Ultimately, if the situation does not change the Sales Manager could face demotion or even the sack.

Support your newly promoted Sales Managers with our specialist course Managing the Sales Force.