The Transition from Top Producer to Sales Leader

What to Look for in New LeadersIt happens in sales organizations routinely. Take the top producer and move that rock star into sales management.  Makes sense. Right?

Not always — and not without serious preparation.

The transition from producer into effective leader isn’t a layup. Like many new managers, I learned the hard way that leading a team is entirely different from production, and requires a completely different set of skills. One reason that big producers often struggle with the transition into management? Humility. As a sales producer, the job is all about you (your sales goal, your commission, your recognition). Leadership is just the opposite. It’s about putting other people in a position to succeed, and stepping out of the spotlight. The best leaders know the job isn’t about them at all — it’s about helping other people contribute so the team wins.

Many companies aren’t spending enough time preparing people for the responsibility that comes with the transition into leadership. Training helps. But, before training even starts, it’s worth considering the DNA of an effective leader inside your organization. Consider:

The DNA of a High Potential Sales Leader

  1. Influential: People who can earn buy-in from their peers and get others around them to think differently. It’s also a required competency in sales, making it easier to determine who actually has the ability to influence.
  2. Inspirational: Leadership requires vision and belief in the larger purpose of the organization. The ability to connect others to that vision and help them achieve breakthrough performance is required.
  3. Innovative: Great leaders have a healthy appetite for change and aren’t stuck in the status quo. Business is changing faster than ever, and the next generation of leaders have to be willing to learn quickly, act decisively and take risks. People who consistently bring new ideas to the table (and execute on them) have the potential to be a catalyst for meaningful change.
  4. Impact: Sales leadership is about results — for the team and the entire organization. The best leaders don’t make excuses and deliver their number, consistently. They own their outcome and have the ability and discipline to expect the same in others, creating a culture of performance accountability.
  5. Humble: Great leaders are good listeners who can focus their attention on helping others find success. They believe deeply in the opportunity and give credit and recognition away to those that contribute. They remove barriers and lead by example and in the service of others.

In the enclosed video on sales leadership, I talk about creating a culture of performance and accountability. Watch for two key questions to help you determine: Do you have the right sales talent to compete and win?

Leadership & Accountability from Ryan Estis on Vimeo.

Ryan Estis & Associates is a training and development organization helping companies, leaders, sales people and individual contributors embrace change and achieve breakthrough performance in the new economy. We offer keynotes, live classroom training and online learning that blends interaction, energy and actionable content designed to elevate performance. Contact us for programming inquiries and assistance determining the curriculum that could best support your learning and development objectives.