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Companies promote their best salespeople to become their worst managers.

Line of succession in most of the companies in sales area is from salespeople to sales managers. But problem with this is, what companies expect from sales managers. If they see them as first among others in sales role, then this line would be successful, but if they believe in the power of team and they are looking for successful team management of sales representatives, then they could be in trouble, if they decide to follow above mentioned process.

In order to assess sales managers capabilities, you need to address those areas:

  • Business planning
  • Talent acquisition, management and development
  • Sales tracking and execution
  • Performance management, reward and recognition
  • Contracting, negotiating and pricing

As you can see transition from sales to sales management demands different competence set and good sales performance is no guarantee that those competences are present.

In an Article from Zoltners, Sinha and Lorimer in HBR, authors suggest training managers with mentoring by supervision, peer learning  and independent learning in order to enable sales managers to do their management job.

They believe that transition from sales to sales management is hard because:

“The transition from salesperson (player) to manager (coach) is neither easy nor natural for most people. Most newly-promoted managers lack critical competencies. They don’t have experience managing others. They haven’t recruited, coached, energized, and retained a team of salespeople. They don’t know how to create a business plan or navigate the internal organization to get needed resources. Without guidance, new managers are forced to improvise, and competency mastery is inconsistent.”

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