If you are like most business leaders, you invest heavily in your sales force. If you add up all of the money you spend on recruiting, training, and incentives, you might be alarmed at the size of your investment in this sector of improved revenue performance. However, there is one key lever in every salesforce that has been ignored—the frontline sales manager.
While the sales industry obsesses over quantifying the success of the sales force, it rarely measures the skills and aptitude of sales managers. Typically, a former rock star salesperson is rewarded with a promotion to become the sales manager. This common practice is neglecting the real quantifiable hard and soft skills needed to succeed in the role.
The sales manager is arguably the most overlooked position in the sales industry. Leveraging eSkill’s sales manager assessments, you will be able to identify candidates who possess the skills needed to be a successful sales manager, increasing productivity and the employee retention rate, while simultaneously decreasing the time and cost of the hiring process.
The Trap of Assuming
If you are like most businesses in the sales industry, you may have likely fallen into the trap of assuming a great sales representative could easily transition into a great sales manager. You are not alone. This is a common story among many retailers.
Researchers from MIT, the University of Minnesota, and Yale conducted a study of over 200 companies. The study found that companies who promoted high-performing salespeople to sales manager saw team sales drop by 7.5% on average. While lesser-performing salespeople improved the performance of their salesforce when promoted to sales manager. Ultimately, the firms that promoted a high-performing sales associate paid twice for the mistake. Not only did the promotion upset a line of revenue that the newly promoted sales manager was once producing, but under the new direction, the overall performance of the sales team suffered.
Do not let your organization fall victim to the “Peter Principle,” which predicts companies prioritize current job performance over measurable characteristics that better forecasts managerial performance. As the research demonstrates, the skills and personality traits required to be a top-performing salesperson vary significantly from those needed to be a successful sales manager. Utilizing eSkill’s catalog of sales manager assessment tests allows you to reliably and validly prognosticate the future performance of candidates in the sales manager position.
Leveraging Salespeople’s Full Potential
To fully assess candidates’ propensity to leverage the full potential of their sales teams, it is crucial to determine if their emotional intelligence is the right fit for the position. eSkill’s pre-hire assessments serve as inventories that provide insights into innate behavior. Measuring soft skills, such as leadership ability, will increase your organization’s likelihood of hiring successfully the first time.
While a salesperson relishes in setting ambitious individual goals, a sales manager must work hard to support and encourage others, and derive satisfaction from the team’s overall performance. To successfully train and guide a sales team, a sales manager must possess strong leadership skills. Sales coaching is a leadership style that plays a key role in sales management. Unfortunately, leadership is not a skill easily taught because it does not exist in a vacuum. Instead, a potential new hire must have the ability to create a motivating and positive climate for their salesforce to reach their full potential. To determine if candidates have the necessary behavioral intelligence to excel in a sales manager position, it is critical to utilize eSkill’s sales manager assessments.
Analytical and Innovative
Not surprisingly, the hard skills needed to thrive in the sales manager position vary significantly from those needed as a sales associate. While a salesperson has a concrete list of actionable objectives that do not require out-of-the-box thinking, a sales manager must be capable of developing and implementing strategies to optimize their team’s results.
The sales manager must possess the critical thinking skills necessary to implement and execute initiatives that maximize the productivity of their salesforce, including building incentives and motivators for the entire team, working with salespeople to prioritize efforts, and providing marketing and product development input. Reviewing resumes and conducting in-person interviews does not provide the quantitative data needed to assess candidates’ analytical and critical thinking skills necessary to be a successful sales manager. eSkill’s comprehensive sales manager tests allow you to measure candidates’ hard skills, simplifying the hiring decision, and saving your company time and money.
Staying Ahead of the Times
Most salespeople are woefully behind the social media and technology curve, and they are failing to catch up. The speed at which technology changes is doubling, which means the pace at which your salesforce needs to acquire new skills is doubling as well. According to a 2018 study by CSO Insights, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Point of Sales (POS) systems have been nearly universally implemented in the sales industry. However, only 47% of study participants reported an adoption rate of 90% or greater amongst staff. The study found that a high adoption rate combined with a rigorous sales process sets the foundation for achieving better and more predictable sales results.
Finding a sales manager who has the relevant technical skills and aptitude for acquiring new knowledge is vital to organizations’ ability to implement new technology. eSkill offers a variety of sales manager tests to assess digital know-how, including those that quantify candidates’ knowledge of social media marketing, search engine marketing, and the use and execution of CRM systems through virtual simulations. Businesses can customize these assessments to match the processes and procedures of their organization. Utilizing eSkill’s sales manager assessments will ensure that you are hiring people with the necessary competencies to be a productive leader and drive revenue growth.
Great sales managers are immensely valuable to your retail organization. Hiring underqualified sales managers who fail to tip the scales will have a costly effect on your organization. Leveraging eSkill’s sales manager assessment tests will not only improve your hiring process, but it will also increase productivity and retention of your valuable salesforce.
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Eric Friedman is the founder and CEO of eSkill Corporation, a global platform for complete candidate skills and job fit assessment. eSkill’s online skills testing is used by thousands of employers for pre-employment assessment and staff benchmarking. Eric has degrees in Psychology and Business, and a fascination with matching people with roles they're best at, and that they enjoy.