Oh, this is a great question? I’ve seen companies bring on as sales manager:
- Their best rep
- Their worst rep
- Someone from marketing
- A salesperson from another company
- A sales manager from another company
- No one, assuming the reps don’t need management
- The salesperson with the best qualifications
The first six make me nauseous! OK, numbers 2-6 make me nauseous and number one makes me nervous. Why nervous? Not every “best rep” will become the best sales manager because the qualities that make a sales rep outstanding are not always the qualities that make a good sales manager. The best reps often need to hunt and “close business” and will miss that part of selling; they will try to impose their selling methods on other salespeople; they will mistake strength for control; they will get frustrated with “developing” other people’s skills. The top sales rep who has been turned a sales manager will have a short fuse and it will blow when their patience runs out.
Marketing people are smart but some won’t like the pressure of managing. Salespeople from other companies won’t know the products, the customers or the salespeople. A sales manager from another company may not know the products, industry and for sure not the salespeople. Not having any sales manager makes no sense under any circumstances.
Number seven makes the most sense because the future manager knows the company, the other salespeople and the industry. He or she will have built in trust with the salespeople. There will be a “seamless” move from salesperson to sales manager.
The Final Word: Don’t guess about whom should become your sales manager. Create a list of the qualities for a good sales manager and assess your candidates against that list!