A direct sales position is quite a different role than that of a sales manager. As such, it requires a different skill set to be successful. I think this is one of the biggest reasons why so many sales people fail when they are promoted to management.
Earlier in my career, I was a top producing sales rep who was promoted into management. I was one of the few who made this transition successfully, eventually developing into a top producing sales manager as well. Looking back, I think there were four basic reasons why I was able to make this move, where so many others have not.
- I had a very strong desire to move into management. In fact I approached the company with my aspirations, as opposed to them approaching me.
- I had the right personality that was a good fit for management. In fact, I was actually formally assessed to ensure that I had the personality traits and aptitudes that are required to be successful in management.
- I did not initially have all the skills of a sales manager. Therefore I was given proper sales management training, and was properly mentored through my development.
- I did not have to take a pay cut to go into management. I was compensated based on the team’s performance, with the opportunity to earn a higher income as a successful manager than I could as a successful sales representative previously. This motivated me to develop 10 more independent top producers, as opposed to just selling on their behalf by myself.
As I said, looking back, I really believe that if any of the four of the above were missing, I would have just been another sales rep who couldn’t cut it as a sales manager.
If you or a member of your team has recently been promoted into sales management, check out my book, Action Plan for Sales Management Success. This sales management training book includes the techniques used by today’s top producing sales managers and is sold at most major online retailers. It’s also available as a sales management training eBook.