More and more of our Through the Eyes of the Rep survey data shows that many sales reps are not interested in moving into sales management. Whether it’s because the reps like the autonomy of an individual performer role, or feel they can make more money as a sales producer, or aren’t interested in coaching others; becoming a sales manager simply isn’t a desirable path for all reps. Therefore, sales managers are presented with the challenge of how-to grow and develop sales reps' careers without leaving their current role.
The only way to plan for career development inside the same sales role is to understand the individual talents, needs and interests of the sales rep. To this end, we encourage each sales manager to conduct an annual career discussion to better understand these individual concerns.
Oftentimes, sales managers do not have the benefit of many formalized development opportunities for their reps, so it’s up to them and their reps to create an individualized path.
In the list below, we share four of some of our career development ideas managers and reps can consider:
- Company task force or special team assignments – If your organization has created an internal task or special team to tackle a specific challenge, ensure that reps who are interested in the issue are assigned to be part of the project.
- Leading a team initiative – If your sales team is facing a specific challenge, don’t feel like you always have to create the solution. Instead, assign a rep or a group of reps to explore the issue and create recommendations. Not only does this provide development for the reps, but it ensures all team challenges do not have to be fixed by you alone.
- Mentoring new sales reps – Even if a rep isn’t interested in being a manager, they may still enjoy in mentoring a new rep on certain skills. Plus, this team training approach allows new reps to learn different sales approaches from different peers.
- Cross-divisional training – Consider setting up cross-divisional training with a leader in another area of the company. You can have your reps shadow their team members when engaged in tasks that are of interest to your team, and then return the favor by having their team members observe your reps at other times.
Overall, effective career development requires an in-depth understanding of each of your sales reps – their needs, goals and how to help them achieve them. To do this, you can’t just define a career path or development process that works for everyone. Rather you have to ask questions to understand the desires and needs of each person. Then, use the above ideas to plan intentional learning and development experiences with your reps. Regardless of whether they long to be in management or are happy to keep growing in their current role, career development is worth the effort because it can lead to increased engagement, motivation and, ultimately, increased sales results.
Get the full list of career development ideas by downloading this white paper:
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