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Tips for transitioning from rep to manager

Using Conversational Intelligence to transition from Sales Rep to Manager

You’re looking to promote your best sales rep to a sales manager. But first, here are some things you should know before you decide to make that change.

A few months ago, Kevin Dorsey posted on LinkedIn some research that outlined what happens to sales organizations when the top sales rep on the team gets promoted to a sales manager role.

We followed that up by recording a podcast with him on the same subject and out of it came some pretty exciting stuff. What did not come out of that podcast was any clear action items for companies and sales reps to take to help avoid the decrease in revenue production as these transitions take place.

 

From the Sales Rep’s Point of View

As a top sales rep in your company, you are likely hyper-focused on the activities related to your deals that you need to accomplish each and every day to pull them across the finish line.

You are extremely focused on reviewing your conversational intelligence software to ensure your opportunities are multi-threaded and have clear next steps.

You are OCD about past due tasks and painstakingly scrub your pipeline of wasteful accounts.

So how do you switch that mindset to a sales manager role?

You keep the same focus but change what you’re working towards.

Instead of focusing on your deals, focus on your reps. Teach them how to become laser-focused on their deals. Bring into the spotlight how you kept your pipeline clean, and then help them do the same thing.

Being a top sales rep anywhere usually means that your prospects and customers come to you for market insights, strategic direction, and best practices when it comes to how to best leverage your solution to fill the gaps in their business. You are a trusted advisor and resource to them. This is all well before they ever sign on the dotted line and become your customer. Once you step into a leadership role, this doesn’t change. The only thing that changes is your audience. Your job is to now not only be the trusted leader your team comes to, but also work with your team so they become the trusted advisor to their prospects and customers.

An idea that helps with this is to hold weekly Workshop Wednesday sessions. This is where each member of your team presents an area they have become an expert in. This will not only help to elevate the team’s knowledge, but your team will see that rep as the expert in that area leading to them relying on each other, more than you.

From the Sales Leader’s Point of View

When you’re looking to promote your top sales rep to a sales manager, there are a couple of things you need to look at first. I’ll just say it – your top rep is NOT always the best option for a sales manager.

While the qualities they must possess are similar, you need to identify if they will step into this role and make a difference.

Your best sales reps must give, give, and give well before they ever expect to receive. The same should be true as they step into management. Give them a challenge of leading the team to reach a special goal to see if they focus on themselves or if they find ways to elevate those around them.

Another key trait you want to examine is how they take failure? If they hit their quota, but the team fails to reach their monthly quota – what do they do? If they immediately start gloating or go show off their deals in your conversational intelligence software, then they are not going to be a good sales manager.

But if they are willing to accept/take some of the blame when the team misses their number, that person is going to be a great leader.

How do they handle when a new sales rep joins the team? Do they offer help in training or show them what works best for them? Or do they steer clear of that rep?

Admittedly, there is no easy way to guarantee that your best rep will be your best sales manager. But you can definitely look at the signs to see how the team acts around them. If the team doesn’t respond to them when they are a top performing rep, they will definitely not respond when they are a manager.

 

What Conversational Intelligence Software Can Do For Your Team

While this seems off topic, give me a chance to show you why I bring this up.

When you have a tool that helps measure performance, you can easily see why your top rep is a top performer. There is no reason that the knowledge learned from conversational intelligence software can’t be shared. So what do your reps do when you have a tool like this?

This should be a key sign to see how your team works together or responds to individuals when reviewing the details as a team. While hitting quota is your ultimate measure of success, there are still wins you can give your reps from this data. So does your top rep get excited when one of their coworkers beats them? All key signs to finding and transitioning your top sales rep into a sales manager role.

Good luck.

If you need any other advice on making the transition, reach out to me!

Author

Greg Reffner - CEO

As one of the very first power users of Conversational Intelligence as an Account Executive, Greg fell in love with how technology enabled his success. As Abstrakt's leader, his vision and "why" is to help every sales rep and leader avoid the pain of missing their number.