October 5, 2015

In our consulting and training practices, we have run across this situation far too often:

A sales manager quits or is promoted, leaving a gap. A VP, now faced with either running the sales team himself or finding a replacement ASAP, convinces a top producer to take the reins. Of course, the top producer is still expected to maintain her personal sales production, while also managing the rest of the sales staff.

One of two things usually happens next:

  1. The new sales manager continues to focus solely on her customers and prospects, leaving the rest of the team without support and extremely resentful.
  2. The new sales manager gets pulled into solving everyone’s problems, filing paperwork, and doing anything but selling — earning her reprimands from her superiors.

Only in rare cases will someone successfully manage both roles at the same time.

The reason for this is that the skills required to manage a group of salespeople and the skills required to sell to prospects are wildly different. Being good at sales does not automatically make a great sales manager!

So how should the VP in the above situation have handled it? By advertising the job opening both in-house and externally, and then testing all interested applicants with a sales manager aptitude test.

Avoiding flying by the seat of your pants when hiring sales managers.

A sales manager can make or break a sales team. The best attitude one could possess is that of a positive, motivating coach. If she is a producing manager, she must be able to balance her own accounts’ needs with the needs of her juniors, and this requires self-leadership and discipline while also possessing a nurturing nature.

Going with your gut to find someone like this might or might not have worked before — but wouldn’t it be better to know whether someone really had the natural skill set to become a successful sales manager?

A sales manager aptitude test is a must!

What the Craft Personality Questionnaire Measures

Our test of choice is the CPQ. It is standard, and proven effective by more than 60 correlation studies, as well as first-hand experience with hundreds of companies and thousands of test takers.

It measures the following traits:

  • Goal Orientation
  • Need for Control
  • Social Confidence
  • Social Drive
  • Detail Orientation
  • Good Impression
  • Need to Nurture
  • Skepticism

By plotting a test taker’s scores for each of the above characteristics against the ranges proven to be successful for a certain position, you can ascertain whether he has the natural aptitude to take on that job role.

The thing to know is that ideal sales manager scores for the above traits will differ from ideal outside sales person scores, which will differ from customer service rep scores. That’s the beauty of the CPQ, it knows the ideal ranges and tells you what position the test taker is best suited for! Easy!

For a sample CPQ report, visit this page. And if you have any questions, shoot us an email or give us a call.