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A manager is one breed, a salesman is another. Most good salesmen thrive in the field, wither at headquarters. "There I was alone," a true salesman once said, "with nothing but my golden voice."

- Up the Organization: How to Stop the Corporation from Stifling People and Strangling Profits
By Robert C. Townsend, Warren Bennis


Do you agree? Can a great salesperson make a great manager?
#management #sales
  • Profile picture of the author gjabiz
    but often choose not to.

    I've known many salesman who would have to take a pay cut, work longer hours and deal with other employees...to become a manager.

    Of course, any manager, who has been on the floor,
    in the field,
    where the rubber meets the road...

    May have an advantage as a manager because he's "been there and done that", so may be able to empathize with the people he managers.

    From an owner viewpoint, I want my best salespeople in the field, and would try to compensate them accordingly and try not to get them to

    rise to the level of their incompetence (The Peter Principle)...

    With all the great training options, the right personality and training, I believe, a good manager can be made. Maybe?

    gjabiz









    Originally Posted by joe golfer View Post

    A manager is one breed, a salesman is another. Most good saleman thrive in the field, wither at headquarters. "There I was alone," a true salesman once said, "with nothing but my golden voice."

    - Up the Organization: How to Stop the Corporation from Stifling People and Strangling Profits

    By Robert C. Townsend, Warren Bennis

    Do you agree? Can a great salesperson make a great manager?
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  • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
    When I went from salesman to distributor (meaning having reps work for me) I found that it was a completely different set of skills.

    Years ago, I learned that if you are an outstanding salesperson, you should stick to selling.

    It isn't that I didn't make more money as a distributor, I did. It was the constant frustration of not being able to train others to be as good as I was.

    A good salesperson can train others to be good, and management is a great position for those that enjoy the work.

    My solution was to train and manage, but still sell in the field, as though I was still a rep.

    Now, I give speeches, teaching how to sell. But teaching is different from managing.

    At least I don't have to watch them kill sales.
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  • Profile picture of the author zarrylopez
    Yes, a great salesperson can also be a great manager.

    A great salesperson knows everything starting from the smallest up to the biggest details of a certain product.

    That is one of the traits that a great manager should also posses.
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    There's another role that should be in this mix. Do you prefer to be a manager or a leader? A manager generally is more adept at admin duties and a leader is great with people, and this includes sales people and training them to do what you used to do before being promoted.
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    • Profile picture of the author Oziboomer
      Originally Posted by laurencewins View Post

      There's another role that should be in this mix. Do you prefer to be a manager or a leader? A manager generally is more adept at admin duties and a leader is great with people, and this includes sales people and training them to do what you used to do before being promoted.
      When you look at what management is defined as it is the controlling of things or people.

      Leadership I think is something else although good leaders can be good managers and good sales people can be both good leaders and managers.

      It does come down to the traits and skills of the person in question and often managers find themselves in the role by default...a little bit like how Claude ended up as a distributor.

      An ability to "SELL" is pretty important for both managers and leaders.

      Not that all managers have the ability but if you think about how someone who is control of things and people has to move a group in a common direction they have to sell the group on that progression.

      They have to encourage and move a team towards a goal.

      One of the best ways to do this as a manager is to "ask the team" to solve a problem that the business may have.

      If a group of sales people from the field get together and can brainstorm the solutions they think to a particular problem the business may be having they can usually come up with at least a dozen ideas or prospective solutions to the problems the business faces.

      The "leaders" or "managers" role is to help the group narrow down those ideas into the one or two that are considered by the group as the most likely to achieve the outcome.

      Then it becomes a process of selling those solutions to the group and to the decision makers above or in the case of a leader guiding a group they have to allow the group to implement the solutions they themselves have suggested.

      It is then management's role to monitor and "control things and people" so the suggestions that are improving results continue to get implemented.

      It is uncanny but I was working on a blog post a few weeks ago on the "importance of leadership" The importance of Leadership and I was reviewing some different ideas I had read or heard over the last twenty years or so as I'm one of those people who was originally sales focussed and then ended up becoming a business owner and employer of many staff and have employed managers that "don't fit" with the leadership, staff or sales team and consequently they have been repurposed elsewhere (politely removed) and the leader and manager role then ends up back on my shoulders.

      Not that I'm formally trained although I have tried to be over the years.

      Best regards,

      Ozi
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    • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
      Originally Posted by laurencewins View Post

      There's another role that should be in this mix. Do you prefer to be a manager or a leader? A manager generally is more adept at admin duties and a leader is great with people, and this includes sales people and training them to do what you used to do before being promoted.
      Floor/sales managers have to do all the above and more ...
      such as baby sitting.

      You can't be a good sales manager ... if you don't know how to lead.
      It's just not possible.
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  • Profile picture of the author aduttonater
    Within my company, I am both management and sales man. You must wear many hats to be successful in your industry.
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  • Profile picture of the author Robscom
    So here's a question:

    Most salespeople are "rewarded" after years of performance by becoming managers.

    Most of the really good salespeople I know hated that move, but it was truly meant as a reward.

    How do you reward/promote a great salesperson in a way that would make him/her happy if it's not a promotion to management?
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    • Profile picture of the author Oziboomer
      Originally Posted by Robscom View Post

      How do you reward/promote a great salesperson in a way that would make him/her happy if it's not a promotion to management?
      More Cash Bonuses.

      best regards,

      Ozi
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      • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
        Originally Posted by Oziboomer View Post

        More Cash Bonuses.

        best regards,

        Ozi
        Over here, we call those "spiffs" and ... nothing makes the
        crew happier then when you walk onto the floor with a
        fist full of cash.

        We run, top of the hour, bottom of the hour, first sale of the hour
        largest sale of the hour/day/week and random spiffs throughout the day.

        It works like magic.

        The hourly volume down? (for whatever reason)
        Trying to break a record?
        Running a light or weekend shift?

        "spiff it up baby!" - Never fails.

        Edit: - Cause I think it's important to mention

        We don't pay spiffs on call backs, pipeline deals or in-bounds (in-bounds are spiffs themselves)

        Spiffs are ONLY for first contact outbound sales. Yes, they are used for
        motivation ... but also to TEACH ... and the lesson being taught is,

        close the deal the first time you talk to the lead ... not the second or third or fifth ....

        Originally Posted by Robscom View Post

        So here's a question:

        Most salespeople are "rewarded" after years of performance by becoming managers.

        Most of the really good salespeople I know hated that move, but it was truly meant as a reward.

        How do you reward/promote a great salesperson in a way that would make him/her happy if it's not a promotion to management?
        Originally Posted by Robscom View Post

        So here's a question:

        Most salespeople are "rewarded" after years of performance by becoming managers.
        That's not how we do things in Florida.(Phone rooms)
        We don't want to waste our "really good salespeople"
        ie, earners, top dogs, ... on management. If you constantly
        produce in the top 10-20% there is no way on earth you
        will EVER become management. Not happening.

        Management is a dime a dozen ... good salespeople are the
        platinum foundation your business is built on.

        With the exception of floor managers and TO's/ Closers ... management
        cannot sell there way out of a paper bag.

        Is the rep in the bottom of the barrel for ability ... but shows great loyalty,
        is helpful, has a brain ... potential to learn... but will never be a profitable
        salesperson? ... That's management material.

        Originally Posted by Robscom View Post

        How do you reward/promote a great salesperson in a way that would make him/her happy if it's not a promotion to management?
        If and ONLY if the "top earner" is burnt out ... or temporarily needs a break ...
        then you make them a TO/Closer with a per sale over ride.

        Doing that can be sketchy, cause you can ruin really good sales-people
        by going that route. If they are only closing already pitched people
        ready to buy .... then they tend to get lazy and not want to go back to
        full pitches. --- Your defense as the owner? ... SMALL OVERRIDES.

        Give them the break they need - but have a deadline for it to end.
        And keep the pay low enough that they want to get back on the phones.

        If the sales-person is just "done" ... but has the potential to be a great
        room motivator / closer THEN set them up properly pay wise
        and hope that they close enough deals (that would not have been closed
        if they did not take over the sale) to make up for what they are no
        longer bringing in.

        and THAT ... is how we roll in Florida
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