Should You Make Your Top Rep Your Sales Manager?


You have an opening for a sales manager. Your rainmaker is vying for the role.  He is outstanding in sales and has helped you make the number every year.

Should you move him into the managers chair?

When considering promoting a star sales performer into management, tread slowly.  There is a very real possibility that you may be taking away the ‘pace-setter’ from your sales team in exchange for a mediocre sales manager.

Promoting the top rep into the sales manager role takes guts.  Most fail.  They fail because they are used to selling and not coaching selling. And you lose the revenue from the top rep.


How to pull this off?  Carefully.

Because it takes different skills to manage vs. sell

Most current sales managers shouldn’t be in the role.  But they are because their ego gets in the way.  Being the boss is the same as being the top rep.  Accolades, Recognition and Prestige go to top reps.  And they think this will be the same as the Sales Manager.  Boy are they wrong.

Moving from a direct contributor sales role into a sales manager role should not be an assumed career path.

Rather than putting your superstar into a manager role, consider using your top performers particular strengths to support junior reps.  Prepare them for the role by:

  • Arranging Meetings
  • Make Presentations
  • Overcoming Objections
  • Closing Deals



With that in mind, there may be occasions when promoting someone from a direct selling role into a management role bears consideration.

When seeking to evaluate and develop future sales managers, it is essential that companies provide the training necessary to give your future manager every chance to succeed.

Attention should be paid to a few critical areas:

Job-specific training

The mandatory skills a sales manager will need vary according to the organization and the goals it sets for its sales force. Make sure he is crystal clear on what the sales objectives are and ensure that he has all the tools, resources, and specific knowledge he needs to make this happen.

 Depending on the size and history of the organization, he may be required to:


  • Determine Metrics
  • Construct a Compensation Package
  • Work with Marketing to Feed Leads to the Team
  • Standardize Sales Pitches
  • PowerPoint Scripts

***The most important skill for managers to have is the ability to hold people accountable. ***

This is also the area that most managers self-report as their biggest area of weakness and the most difficult skill for someone new to management to become comfortable with.

Keep in mind if you have the added dynamics of promoting someone who is now expected to hold his former peers accountable for numbers, the rate of success plummets.

Provide intensive training to your new manager on how best to hold their team accountable, incorporating role playing to give constructive feedback is essential for their success.

  • Do not put anyone in a leadership role that is responsible for holding the team accountable for hitting their objectives until you are 100% positive that they are proficient in the following;
  • Understand the metrics that are required to be successful within your unique field
  • Comfortable in going over numbers with non-performers and lining out repercussions for not achieving set goals
  • Proficient in providing constructive criticism and creating a clear plan for success.

For help in training your sales team and achieving substantially higher levels of success, consider reaching out to The Brevet Group.

For access to high performing sales pros with industry specific experience, feel free to call International Search Consultants.

Since 1999 ISC has been delivering quota busting sales pros to our Clients interview table.

Call ISC today for all of your SALES Recruiting needs!