One of the more important challenges for a sales organization is transforming its own talent from a good sales rep to a great sales leader.
Studies show that that internal hires often outperform external hires. And this isn't a huge surprise. Internal hires often have a better track record of job performance, have been at the company for longer, and are almost always cheaper.
What’s interesting though is that in sales in particular, top salespeople in your organization often don’t make the best sales leaders. There are many reasons that top-performing don’t excel as sales managers. They may make their sales number, but they may not be a great team member. A sales leader’s main goal is to succeed because of the sales team. It becomes important to identify and work with sales reps to become sales leaders.
Here are a few ways that you can identify and develop a salesperson to become a future sales leader.
Understand Goals and Expectations
When an organization thinks a rep has promised to be a sales leader, it is important to understand what their medium and short term goals are. In some cases, a salesperson is content being a sales rep and does not want to move into sales management.
It’s critical to have the salesperson understand the expectations of being a sales leader and what is needed for them in the future, then give them the salesperson training they need to develop the skills and experiences in their current role.
One of the most effective is having team members mentor other team members. There are opportunities in team meetings, joint calls, and one on one time. Seeing how the team members interact and work together is important.
Modern sales use content focused both on external an internal to support the sales effort. External, or customer-facing content could be blogs, social media posts, white papers, and more. Internally content like battle cards, messaging decks, personas, and scrips are valuable to support sales training and development.
This can range over a number of different tactics and tools. One of the most important and impactful tools is video. Seeing how a rep leverages and participates in generating the content may be one of the factors to consider when looking for employees to develop.
Using Process and Tools
To be a successful sales leader means using and embracing the sales process and tools. If the salesperson is not using a CRM or following sales processing then there are fairly good odds they will not be a proponent as a sales leader.
Over To You
Growing a sales team is hard, but growing a team of sales leaders is even harder. And for B2B companies, the sales managers are a pivotal cohort that you need to hone to hit your numbers. Finding reps who want to be managers, giving them the tools, training, and support to get them there, and helping them help their team is absolutely critical to driving your team further. Hopefully, these tips will get you started on turning good reps into great leaders.
Spencer is the product marketing manager at LevelJump. He comes from the world of content and loves helping B2B SaaS companies find exactly the right people who love a product, and figuring out exactly how to tell that product story so it resonates and compels action. You can find him on LinkedIn.