Why Great Salespeople Aren’t Always Great Sales Managers

Thought of the Day

You must be a credible leader before you can be an incredible leader.

business_people_sales_people_diverseOver many years in sales, I’ve seen it time and again. Sales leaders want to reward their top performers. This is a great impulse and one you should follow. However, often the method of reward is to make the great sales maker a sales manager. The thinking, and it’s logical, is that if I can have this high-performer infuse a whole team with what he or she does, my sales will rocket.

Here’s the challenge. Great sales makers don’t automatically make great sales managers. In fact, often it’s your middle-of-road, reliable, competent sales rep who would make the best manager. Why?

People who perform at a high level ┬áin any area of life are often “naturals.” Look at LeBron James, Steph Curry, or Kevin Durant. These guys amaze because they can simply do things their teammates cannot do with any amount of practice or determination. They have natural gifts that can’t be taught, not even by them.

This is why sports lore is filled with the great player who was not a successful coach. The great coaches are typically the people who were reliable, competent players who really had to work at their craft. That meant they couldn’t “just do” things like the great players. They had to break things down into their component parts and work hard on those elements. That’s the kind of player that makes a great coach.

Sales is very much like sports. Your highest performers are naturals too. They do things naturally that you coach and teach and struggle to get your other reps to do. Now you make that top sales rep a manager. He or she doesn’t understand what it really means to have to work at all the small things – and may not even realize what all those small things are or how to teach them.

Coaching is a huge part of sales management. The top performer can easily become frustrated that his or her team can’t do things that came natural to them. His or team can become frustrated because they aren’t getting the stripped down coaching they need to succeed. It all can – and often does – add up to failure.

Am I saying never promote your top sales makers to manager? No, I never say never. I’m simply saying this is why it often doesn’t work and what you should consider before you do it.

Happy Selling!

Ray

Ray Davis is the Founder of The Affirmation Spot. He’s spent more than 20 years in sales and sales training and more than 25 years studying human motivation. Read more sales articles by Ray.

He is also the author of the Anunnaki Awakening speculative fiction series. Book 1 – Revelation – was released in 2015. Book 2 – Revolution – is due out in 2017.