In the coming months interview activity will increase for executive sales leaders. In his blog Are You Good Enough to Win the SVP Job?, Matt Sharrers addresses the factors that drive this perennial trend. Bottom line: companies realize they’re missing their topline number. As a result, they take to moving leaders like chess pieces. You may not like or agree with the trend – you wouldn’t be alone. However, the numbers bear out the facts.
Were you passed over for a promotion in the past? Do you aspire to make the leap from sales rep to sales leader? This article is specifically written to help you make this move. With the movement at the top, there are always residual effects in leadership throughout the organization.
15 Competencies for Sales Rep Promotion
A group of my peers looked at the SVP core competencies. They honed them down to those attributes that are most pertinent to aspiring sales managers/leaders.
Download the Sales Leader Competency Profile and start sharpening your skills. Improve your own game to be considered for the next promotion.
Of the 15 competencies, the following list represents the Top 5 that transcend various sales organizations:
1. Managing Process: You’re responsible for managing your sales team day in and day out. They’ll look to you for direction, so you must guide them. Help them understand sales strategies and abide by company processes. For example you’ll be responsible for your team:
- Adopting company policies
- Utilizing CRM systems and adhering to sales processes
- Understanding sales methodologies
- Measuring process output
2. Conflict Management: As a sales leader, you’re responsible for managing relationships within the organization. This includes your sales team, as well as your new peers and superiors. You must be able to:
- Navigate internal organizational battles and establish regular reputation for conflict resolution
- Manage all partners without strife
- Avoid major conflicts before they happen. Anticipate tension and address it to the satisfaction of all parties.
- Be known as a peacemaker and arbiter by fellow sales managers
3. Driving Results: A major new responsibility is being held accountable for the performance of your team. You’re in charge of motivating your team. You need to put your pieces in position to be successful. This requires:
- Pursuing goals intelligently and relentlessly
- Maintaining focus at all times
- Seeking out quantitative comparison for ideas and benchmarking
- Demonstrating results in a variety of sales environments
4. Managerial Courage: Being in charge is far from easy. You’ll run into trying situations and hard decisions. As a manger, you’re expected to rise to these challenges on your own. Some of the obstacles you can expect to overcome are:
- Adapting in a management environment where autonomy is valued
- Making tough decisions with confidence
- Setting priorities without intense oversight
- Taking an unpopular position on an important topic
5. Building Teams: Camaraderie is a crucial part to any team’s success. As the sales leader, it’s your job to create this dynamic. Inspire your team to help other teammates. Make the whole greater than the sum of it’s part by:
- Creating unity and productivity of sales reps under your management
- Making your reps feel like they are part of a high-performing team
- Improving average performers and motivate above average performers to excellence
- Developing unique team-building and team motivating activities
Next Steps for Sales Reps who Aspire to be Promoted
Take an honest look at your Sales Leader core competencies. How do you match up?
- Make the number and increase sales. Advancement is reserved for those who have proven themselves in the crucible of sales. When you’re making the number, you increase your power and influence.
- Approach sales management directly and throw your hat in the ring. Express your interest. Share with them SBI’s Sales Leader Competency Profile and ask if they agree or disagree with the competencies. Then as a follow up to show you are truly interested:
- Make note of the competencies they deem most pertinent to your organization
- Ask them to assess your capabilities using the Sales Leader Competency Profile
- Work with them to develop a plan
Not everyone aspires to be a sales leader. We work with many sales professionals who thoroughly love sales and have no desire to manage others. Being a sales leader isn’t an easy task. It takes a specific personality with a refined skill set. It’s very possible you have these skills in your arsenal. Find out by downloading the Sales Leader Competency Profile.
In order to get promoted from sales rep to sales leader you need to polish and showcase these skills.