Would you ask the best violinist in the orchestra to take over conducting without any preparation to be a conductor? Probably not. And if you did, you wouldn’t have very high expectations for the orchestra’s performance. Yet this is exactly what most organizations do. They promote high-performing salespeople into management roles without preparing them to be confident and competent in the critical areas of coaching, motivating, and developing their people.
It’s not that companies don’t recognize the value of the manager’s role. When a group of sales executives was asked what was most important to improving sales performance, 88% answered, “making sales managers more effective,” a finding consistent with a Sales Executive Council survey. At the same time, over 50% indicated that their organizations were not preparing sales managers to lead effectively. Given the sales manager’s potential impact on performance, these companies are literally leaving money on the table in the form of smaller ROI for sales training, weak sales productivity, and higher turnover costs.
For a relatively modest investment, sales managers can be provided with the tools and knowledge to drive sustainable high performance. To target the handful of essential skills sales managers need, prepare them to answer five simple questions.