“Would you ask the best violinist in an orchestra to take over as conductor without any preparation?” asks Michael Leimbach in a Pro article at MarketingProfs. “Probably not. And if you did, you wouldn’t have very high expectations for the orchestra’s performance.”
But that is exactly what you do when you promote top salespeople to management roles without preparing them in the critical areas of coaching, motivating and developing their people. “Ultimately,” notes Leimbach, “well-managed teams will deliver more sales at higher margins than those that are poorly managed or left to their own devices.”
To maximize sales potential—and, thus, fully leverage marketing’s lead-gen efforts—Leimbach says a manager should have ready answers for five important questions her team might ask. Here are a couple:
Where are we going? “If salespeople are not connected to the overall business direction,” he notes, “they feel out of the loop and are less able to carry out their role in achieving the broader business goals. By communicating the company’s vision, strategy, and challenges, and how the sales team fits into the big picture, managers provide their teams with a sense of belonging to a larger whole and ensure their salespeople are able to make a meaningful contribution to the organization’s success.”
Where do we go for help? Due to organizational barriers, a salesperson might feel hampered—for instance, when rounding up needed implementation resources or trying to help a customer with a technical problem. “Successful managers clearly communicate how well the organization is supporting the sales function and can work with other functional leaders to orchestrate the kinds of resources their sales team needs,” he says.
Don’t assume your best salesperson is a natural-born manager—give her the tools and training she needs to lead her team to success.