On so many occasions I’ve written about
the hiring and firing process pertaining to sales people. I was recently
counseling a sales manager on a similar yet slightly different topic. He has a
young lady in a sales role that seems to be a fantastic employee but who does
not seem to be a good fit for the outside sales role. She gets along well with
the other sales people, members of her entire organization, and clients like
her. However, her confidence drops when she has to either “cold call” or “go in
for the close”. In the sales managers words, “she’s one hell of an account
manager, but we don’t employee account managers”.
This is a perfect example of right
person, wrong seat. Wouldn’t we all love to have an employee like this, one
that both your coworkers and clients like to do business? It is not always a
tough yes/no decision. In this case my colleague can have the right person, he
simply needs to develop the right seat.
In his case, while the company has never
employed an account manager, I’ve encouraged him and his fellow executives to
add this role specifically for her. Imagine what positive impacts she will have
on the business as a whole when she no longer needs to be worried about cold
calling or closing a new deal. Letting this young lady do what she does best
will net results. Repeat orders, addressing customer concerns professionally
with empathy, and supporting sales people who are good at cold calling and
closing but don’t necessarily enjoy the account management side will allow them
to grow too.
Having never had this role in their
organization before, my colleague was concerned about how to develop the
position, manage the person, and how this role could grow over time. This was
probably the easiest part of the answer. It lies within the existing dynamics.
She already reports to him, this doesn’t need to change. She loves these
elements of the job, the account management tasks, so just let her develop the
role as she feels is in the best interest of the company and the clients. And,
if this proves to be a good move not only for her but for the company, then let
her develop a team and manage it.
There is a lot of good that can come
from having the right person in the organization even if it means you have to
create the right seat for them. They will be excited and motivated. They will
be loyal and dedicated to the cause. They will be appreciative to you and their
coworkers for placing such trust in them. And, they will rise to the occasion,
not wanting to disappoint, and will potentially change your organization from a
revenue / business growth standpoint.