How to Know When to Promote a Sales Associate

By Henrik Troselius - October 02, 2017

While the retail and hospitality industries can sometimes struggle with quick employee turnover, great managers know that the key to employee retention is giving staff learning opportunities, room to grow, autonomy, and trust. When employees feel valued, they tend to stick around longer at one job, than those working at companies where they simply feel like a number. When one of your staff members particularly shows loyalty and a great work ethic, they may be a prime candidate for a promotion. Here's how to tell if you have an employee that would make a great leader in your sales organization.

The subjective factors for employee promotion

When looking for a sales associate who will be able to take the reigns in your organization, you should consider both subjective and objective factors. Only looking at hard numbers on performance metrics can be dangerous, since great leaders should be personable, have a good attitude, and genuinely care about customers - all things that can't necessarily be measured. These are some top subjective factors to look for in a candidate for promotion:

  • The employee can handle various types of customers: a great sales associate should be able to accommodate anything that is thrown their way. If you find that your sales associate can easily navigate through situations that can be considered stressful, or challenging with certain customers, they could potentially make a great manager.
  • The employee is a team player, and likes to help others: a successful sales team is one where everyone works together to help each other do their best. A sales associate who only looks out for their own best interests is probably not the best candidate for promotion. Look for someone who encourages others, offers to pick up slack where needed, and is willing to go above and beyond for their fellow colleagues.
  • The employee isn't afraid to take on extra responsibility: let's face it, there are some people who avoid challenges, and there are some who enjoy taking them head on. A good leader in a sales organization should be the former. Look for someone on your team who can think outside of the box, likes to find solutions for improving sales processes or efficiency in the organization (and without being asked to), and who gladly accepts more responsibilities when need be.

The objective factors for employee promotion

Now it's important to note that a good manager shouldn't just be your most well-liked staff member. It's important for the success of a sales organization that your sales associates are fairly strong at actually selling. Good managers lead by example, so when making considerations for who should be promoted, you should take a look at some hard and fast numbers to identify who knows the keys to improving sales performance. Take a look at your staff KPIs to have a good understanding of who may be able to lead your sales team to success.

  • Conversion rates: conversion rates measure the percentage of time that a goal is completed. For sales staff, that can mean the number of customers who come into a store or are contacted via phone and are convinced to make a purchase. If you have a high performing sales associate, chances are they have a great ability to close a sale, and their conversion rate reflects that.
  • Average spend per customer: there is a difference between a sales associate who simply helps customers through transactions, and one who is able to upsell, or convince a customer to spend more. If you look to see who is encouraging spending, they can be a valuable asset to your management team for helping fellow sales team members see the importance of not just high volume sales, but high profits.

When considering an employee for a promotion, there are several factors that should be taken into consideration, but ultimately you'll want someone in a leadership position who can help others succeed. Look to your staff members who not only understand good sales tactics, but who also will encourage growth, help the sales team to set and meet goals, and who can undertake responsibilities like staff coaching to improve the performance of your organization as a whole.

Curious to know more about how to track and understand objective measurements for your sales staff? Download our whitepaper on The Art of Measuring the Right KPIs for Retail.

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