5 Reasons Not to Promote Your Best Salespeople [Video]

In many companies, it’s typical to see the most successful salespeople be promoted into a managerial role. Who better to take on more responsibility in the sales organization than someone who consistently meets their number?

However, research shows that more than 75% of those people will not last 2 years before returning to an individual contributor position.

Given these high failure rates, does a promotion really make sense?

Here’s the 5 top reasons not to promote your best salespeople to the management team:

1. They are extremely different roles

A sales role involves hunting for opportunities, developing relationships, listening, negotiating, and closing. On the other hand, sales management involves activities like hiring, training, tracking, forecasting, analyzing, and planning.

While understanding both can make someone more successful in either role, a day spent in each seat means a day doing very different things.

2. Managing can be more complex than selling

Sales reps will face many difficult, yet finite number of sales situations, which they are prepared to handle using a systematic approach.

But, managing a team means using an infinite number of mechanisms — all of which can change from day to day, depending on the person and circumstance.

Understanding how to successfully manage a group of diverse individuals can be much more complex than handling sales situations.

3. Great players sometimes make terrible coaches

Michael Jordan, arguably the best NBA player of all-time, was a nightmare to play with because he expected everyone to play at his level. 

In order to effectively run a team, top sales leaders implement training programs, conduct in-depth sales meetings and pipeline reviews, and scrupulously document opportunities.

Too often, when top sales reps are promoted to a managerial role, they can’t let go of their old role. Instead of managing and teaching, they just want to close deals — undermining their salespeople’s motivation and confidence.

4. You lose your MVP – Most Valuable Producer

When you take your best player off the field, the team may not win as many games. You lose your top salesperson and the revenue that person was driving.

Not to mention, you put that person in a position he or she might be less successful in.

 5. The cost of incorrectly promoting a top sales rep is massive

A poor sales manager and a loss of a top performing sales rep can cost an organization hundreds of thousands of dollars through lost customers, a damaged market reputation, and a drop in sales team morale.

To be a great manager you have to be an expert at management, not an exceptional sales person.

For more videos on sales and sales hiring, visit the Peak Sales Youtube Channel.

Taylor Dumouchel

Marketing Specialist at Peak Sales Recruiting
Taylor spent her first years in the recruiting business helping employers find top performing sales executives and then worked her way up through the ranks, becoming a specialist in marketing and an expert in B2B sales and hiring matters. A graduate from the University of Ottawa, she regularly contributes to the Peak Sales blog.
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