Monday, October 8, 2012

Managing A Sales Super Star

Most successful companies have sales people they would characterize as Super Stars.   These sales people consistently win new accounts.   They are referred to as Closers.   If they are really good, they make lots of money.   And, they are among the hardest people in a company to manage.  First, these Sales Super Stars usually have out sized egos, which is also the basis of their success.   Sales Super Stars are sometimes like a boat that creates a wake.   They do sign business; but can cause chaos within an organization.  Sales Super Stars often have an immature "Bad Boy" image, which is never good. 

Generally, despite the problems Sales Super Stars cause, they are tolerated for a time, as long as they don't cross the line into unethical, or illegal behavior.   If and when that happens, no matter how much a Sales Super Star sells, he or she has to go.   Sales Super Stars are usually sole contributors, often with few supporters within an organization, because they are seen as totally self serving, out to earn commissions, no matter how it might impact the organization, or others within it. 

For the good of the Sales Super Star and the organization, certain Sales Super Star behaviors must be tempered by management.   Integrity is non-negotiable.  In addition, treating others within the company with respect is essential to working relationships.   And, it is important to constantly remind the Sales Super Star that success is a team effort. 

One of the biggest mistakes companies often make related to the Sales Super Star is to promote this sole contributor, who is not a team player, into Sales Management.   In my 33 years in business, I have never seen that work.   More often that not, many Sales Super Stars self destruct.  And, if the day comes when the accounts stop coming in the door, the Sales Super Star is usually terminated, or forced to quit because amassed enemies, with long memories, within a company will show no mercy. 

As someone with a healthy ego, who has been successful in Sales,  my advice to Sales Super Stars is to be cognizant of the big picture and the long term.   Recognize that success is a team sport.   Instead of creating enemies within an organization, build alliances.   Develop a collaborative personality style.  Spend as much time networking internally as externally.   A healthy ego is healthy.   An out sized ego is destructive and usually leads to crash and burn, particularly if the Super Sales Star only has superficial knowledge, which is often the case.  

Managing Sales Super Stars takes a lot of time and energy.   There are days when it seems like more trouble than it is worth.  Yet, company growth and development is often tied to these personalities.   So, for better or worse, Sales Super Stars must be managed to achieve company success, even if it means a little pain and suffering for all concerned, now and then.    

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