Many sales organizations focus on promoting leaders from the ranks of their current group of reps rather than hiring management from outside. They do this because it can help create a stronger, more consistent culture in their organization, provide their reps with opportunities for advancement and also shorten new leader ramp-up time as products and processes are already known. While there are clearly benefits to promoting from within, it can also be hard to know which sales reps have the potential to become effective leaders.
Usually the highest-performing salespeople are first considered for advancement, as they've displayed the skills necessary to sell successfully, as well as perform at a high level. The data from our Through the Eyes of the Sales Rep survey supports the idea that top individual performers are the ones promoted, because sales managers' individual performer skills are consistently rated more highly by their sales reps rather than their management skills. However, strong individual selling skills may not make someone an effective manager. Indeed, our research indicates that individual selling ability is among the leadership skills least prized by sales reps.