“I am aware that not all salespeople can become sales managers. Are there tell-tale signs of those who can? Sandy- Talent Manager, HR
 
Hi Sandy, to answer your question, let us preview indicators of management potential in salespeople.
 
These indicators can be clustered into what Mansmith calls “CRUDE”. As the word implies “CRUDE” components are a promotion candidate’s radar blips that need to be verified and validated prior to actual promotion and if successfully selected, subsequently developed, enhanced and augmented some prior to and the rest during early assumption of responsibilities as a Sales Manager.
 
1.       Consistency of Performance
2.       Rippled Views
3.       Unique abilities
4.       Decision-making
5.       EmotionalPreparedness
 
 
1.    CONSISTENCY OF PERFORMANCE
 
A promotion potential should be able to garner respect from superiors and peers alike, particularly if those peers will become subordinates. Credibility can be significantly boosted first by selling competence and augmented by consistency in sales performance.  Consistency does not require acing performance charts. More crucially, what counts are the steady delivery of numbers and the attainment of quality results, across relevantly observable periods, largely unperturbed by negative extrinsic variables and likewise never from a mere lucky roll of dice. Performance should be anchored not on mere legwork execution but can be traced back to strategy and tactics pre-conceived prior to field implementation.
 
2.    RIPPLED VIEWS
 
A potential manager needs to have a scope-variable perspective. The first ripple is concern for own performance. The second ripple is concern for his unit’s performance and how one’s own efforts can impact the unit’s total performance especially during problematic periods. The third ripple is the consciousness that one cannot be a sustainable Atlas carrying the world on one’s back without recognizing and taking advantage of cross-synergies within the team, with support departments and even with external partners formal or informal, such as non-competitive salespeople  of other companies as sources of information, as the case may be. The fourth ripple is the ability to comprehend absent myopia why management decisions may be such, particularly for unpopular ones. This neither implies mere submissiveness nor blind loyalty but rather the ability to connect the dots of a partially obscured bigger picture. The fifth ripple is the ability to voluntarily contribute suggestions that are grounded on facts and informed extrapolations, which are able to prevent, solve, or alleviate problematic situations.
 
3.    UNIQUE ABILITIES
 
Better known as ‘X-Factors’, be on the lookout for capabilities that relevantly differentiate the candidate from the rest. These may be in the form of knowledge, skills, people network, or other bankable assets.
 
4.    DECISION-MAKING
 
Obviously, decision-making is a rudimentary acumen expected of managers.  Although much training can be used to provide the science and system for this critical competency, there are innate requirements to be able to soundly craft decisions. Firstly, the candidate’s logical reasoning must not be flawed or to a disturbing degree emotionally adulterated beyond the threshold of simply being human nor uber-cold like Mr. Spock from Star Trek. Secondly, ethical orientation should also be another factor to consider. Finally, are the candidate’s values, beliefs, and scruples aligned with the company’s own?
 
5.    EMOTIONAL PREPAREDNESS
 
Beyond the promise of capabilities, it is imperative to check for emotional stability. In particular, there is a need to determine how mature the candidate is with respect to the conduct of functional and social interaction, more pronounced when facing incidences of conflict. The candidate should also possess capability for normalcy and coping mechanisms for crisis situations. It pays also to check how much ego or lack of it determines the candidate’s behaviour. Moreover, it may be worthwhile to profile check on whether the promotion will likely prematurely asphyxiate the candidate owing to incremental work pressure or rather invigorate the candidate’s drive to attain aspirations.
 
CONCLUSION
 
Hopefully, these “CRUDE” components can provide you a guide when picking from your sales crop.  You can even use “CRUDE” as weighted criteria with minimum floors, to grade and qualify vying candidates. If still no one makes it to your shortlist, then perhaps other alternatives to filling up the sales manager slot should be considered.
 
Happy New Year and happy “CRUDE” exploration!
 
Rowen Untivero is a Partner and Chief Sales Strategist of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc., the country’s leading marketing, sales, strategy and innovation training company.  Rowen is the developer of an original Mansmith’s Framework on “Transitioning from Selling to Managing” as well as a “Sales Management KRA Matrix”. He has been injecting much practicable science into sales management, negotiations, selling and general management for more than a quarter of a century. Please send your questions, comments or feedback to mentors@mansmith.net. You can also visit www.mansmith.net.