Promoting a Super Closer to Sales Leadership

In Sales Leadership by Jason Cortel

The interesting thing about sales is that the super closers often end up promoted into sales leadership positions. Often we see this occur without direct demonstration of management or leadership qualities. Taboo as it may be, the super closers are usually the least organized and often have built bad behaviors of not updating the sales management tool, less than accurate forecasting and poor communication skills. Now, it will be up to them to ensure their staff, once peers, follows the processes and keep the systems updated. Once you have identified and promoted this individual into the sales executive role, they will usually suffer from the following fundamental challenges:

  • Unable to let go of their old role. They will take charge of customer relationships and perhaps jump in to close deals. This will undermine the salesperson’s motivation and confidence.
  • They will manage by results expecting the sales staff to meet the same numbers they did. However, they will be unskilled at coaching, developing and using constructive feedback to help them get to those numbers.
  • They will avoid administrative tasks at all costs. They will view those routine yet important tasks as frustrating and menial.

These challenges will soon plague your sales organization. Before long the salespeople will stop learning and growing. This will lead them to become disenchanted and disengaged with their work and eventually to leave the company. Performance of your sales organization will then be in jeopardy.

Leaders and managers are expected to find success in achieving objectives through other people. The hardest lesson for a super closer as a sales leader is to learn that it is no longer about them it is about their team. Unless the super closer you are going to promote shows characteristics it takes to do the leadership job well, and not just because they demonstrated success in their current job, your sales management team will be average at best.

Your job, as the one who promoted the sales leader, is to coach and develop their management and leadership skills. This is not something you can take lightly. You need to be consistent and honest in your coaching sessions. Help them to identify areas for coaching the sales professionals and sit in on those sessions to help them develop their coaching skills. Establish a regular cadence and plan to further solidify your commitment to their success and stick with it. Follow-up and check-points are critical for your plan to work.

When looking to fill a sales leadership role you must be confident that they have what it takes to get you to the next level. You also must understand and accept the role you must play in mentoring them to be that leader. If you don’t have the time to invest in mentoring that person, choose someone else. If you are looking for a plug-and-play candidate that will have little ramp-up time, don’t choose the super closer. Instead, give the super closer gradual responsibilities that will afford them the opportunity to build and demonstrate their managerial and leadership skills and remain objective when evaluating their progress. While one of the greatest compliments for a leader is to develop other leaders, one of the greatest failures is having a leader you develop fail because you did not invest your time in their success.

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Jason Cortel

Jason Cortel

Call Center Manager
An accomplished sales and marketing operations executive in demand generation, client services and technical support industries. Jason has proven leadership, strategic planning, and problem solving skills. He is recognized for having the ability to develop client-focused organizational cultures resulting in significantly higher customer satisfaction and retention.
Jason CortelPromoting a Super Closer to Sales Leadership