Passed_up_for_promotion-1A regional Vice President announced his retirement a few months ago.  You and a couple of your peers were vying for the job.  You got on the shortlist, but another manager got the promotion.  You didn’t get selected for advancement.  What happened? 


Every Sales Manager I’ve met wonders how he/she stacks up against their peers.  They wonder if they are being outpaced.  How do you stack up?  Managers get passed over for promotion for many reasons.  In this blog I want to cover one that is key to securing advancement.  Many good sales managers don’t advance because they are not great at developing sales talent.


Don’t get outpaced by your peers.  Be world class at developing your team.  Download the Talent Development Toolkit.


“The single biggest way to impact an organization is to focus on leadership development. There is almost no limit to the potential of an organization that recruits good people, raises them up as leaders and continually develops them.”
  –John C Maxwell: The 17th Irrefutable Laws of Teamwork


Executives look for people who can develop future leaders.  As a sales manager, how good are you at developing your team?  Your ability to develop the next generation of leadership is what will set you apart from your peers.


There are two key steps to developing your team:


  1. Identifying Future Leaders
  2. Developing Future Leader


Identifying Future Leaders

There are a few common blunders Sales Managers make when identifying future leaders on their team.  Here are some…


  • Look at results only – Results are extremely important, but leadership isn’t about individual results.  It is about the ability to influence others to perform.
  • Try to find a ‘mini-me’ – You look for a person that thinks, acts and behaves just like you– or has very similar experiences.  Diverse leadership styles can achieve success.
  • Tenure trumps everything – Avoid the temptation. Don’t promote someone just because they have been loyal and stuck it out.
  • Everyone likes him/her – They are liked by everyone, so they will be a good leader. All good leaders need to be approachable, but they also must be able to hold people accountable


When assessing potential future leaders, consider these four things:


  1. Judgment – Look for persons who consistently exercise good judgment and consistently sound decision making
  2. Character – People follow leaders who have character. Things like integrity, courage and trust are important
  3. Relational Skills – Leaders must know how to work as a team.  They know how to motivate others and rally their troops.
  4. Results – Future leaders must have a track record of success


Developing Future Leaders

Do you manage or coach your team?  There is a huge distinction. Managers…


  • Watch over ‘assets’
  • Follow prescribed protocols
  • Implement & enforce company policy
  • Prescribe


Coaches on the other hand…


  • Understand individual motivations
  • Consider individual strengths & weaknesses
  • Adopt tailored approaches to maximize success
  • Teach


Developing future leaders requires coaching not managing.  And world-class sales managers spend 70-%-75% of their time coaching their teams.


In my experience, most sales managers take an ad hoc approach to coaching. This is a mistake.  Developing talent takes discipline and rigor.  It takes a plan and a defined cadence. A best-in-class coaching program includes:


  • Formal one-on-one sessions
  • Informal coaching moments
  • Field ride-alongs
  • End-of-day debriefs
  • Time spent with Sales Rep at conferences or tradeshows
  • Dialogue via Electronic messaging (email, Chatter)


This program should have a consistent and well-defined cadence.


Call to Action: Are you being overlooked for promotion? Are your peers advancing before you?  The root cause may be how you develop the talent on your team.  The C-suite looks for people who can develop the future leaders of the company.  Developing talent takes world-class coaching.  Download the Talent Development Toolkit here.