Do you have a salesperson waiting in the wings that can step right into sales management? Think about that question for a minute.
The theatre has a person called an understudy. This is a performer that learns multiple lead roles in order to stand in for one of the main actors, if necessary.
Athletic teams have a bench full of talented players available to substitute during a game.
Who is the understudy or a talented player in your sales organization that is ready to step into a sales management role?
The answer is probably no one.
Corporate America continues to make the age-old mistake of promoting top salespeople to a sales management without proper training or time to ramp up. Most sales managers end up having to learn on the job and as a result, too many sales managers end up failing.
Start training your next generation of sales managers now. Build a strong bench of future sales leaders by following these four steps.
#1. Get buy-in and commitment from the top. The only way this type of training program happens is with the C-Suite support. It’s important that the senior leaders believe this type of investment is important. Forward thinking and proactive leaders understand the importance of education and preparation. They don’t subscribe to the “well no one taught me and I’ve done okay” thinking.
#2: Ask your high potentials to apply for this training. Do not make the high potential training program open to anyone that is interested. Vet your high potentials because there is no room for hostages or vacationers.
Hostages are individuals that attend training workshops because they feel they should. Or, they attend to save face. (Isn’t everyone supposed to want to move into management?) They aren’t very engaged and certainly aren’t interested in learning the skills needed for leadership success.
Vacationers, on the other hand, are individuals that treat training and development workshops as a break from the action from their day-to-day activities. They engage in the training, have fun attending, however, have no intention of applying anything they learned.
#3: Select and vet. I am currently providing sales management training to a group of high potentials. They are a great group of sales professionals because they possess these common attributes:
- No ego. Confidence yes, ego no. These individuals are really talented salespeople. They work hard and consistently meet and exceed sales goals. Some of the participants have even been in sales management roles prior to the training. Despite their previous success or experience, they are open and eager to learn.
- They are coachable. When giving feedback, there isn’t any “yeah but” push back. If they don’t agree with the feedback, they share their perspective with respect and thoughtfulness.
- They are team players. Lone rangers can excel in the right sales roles. However, sales management requires a team mentality. What I’ve noticed repeatedly with this group is their generosity of sharing ideas, feedback and support. No one is looking to be number one. They recognize that everyone needs to be growing and improving in order for their company to hit aggressive revenue goals.
#4: Provide soft skills training and hard skills training. Sales leadership requires managing people and profits. Emotional intelligence skills training is critical in helping leaders become more self-aware and other aware. Hard skills training varies from learning training and coaching skills, improving business acumen and financial acumen.
Equip your future sales leaders with 100 percent of the skills needed for leadership success.
Take a lesson from the theatre or athletics. Start building and developing your high potential sales managers. Set your sales organization up for future success NOW.