A good sales manager is worth their weight in gold. More than anyone else in your dealership, they have final responsibility for closing deals and generating acceptable gross while setting up the business office for strong back-end profits. Your sales manager's contribution to pretty much every key metric in Variable Ops makes them invaluable to the team and your bottom line. When they do their job correctly that is …
Sales managers usually achieve that role due to their superior abilities as salespeople. More than likely your sales manager was also one of your best salespeople. If this is true, something potentially disastrous could happen. It's possible that your new manager doesn't have managerial skills. Being a good salesperson does not necessarily make you a good manager. The best sales managers are organized, consistent, and motivational. They must be able to not only keep on top of their own responsibilities, but those of their sales team as well. Being a successful salesperson did not prepare you for managing inventory, tracking and analyzing data, overseeing advertising campaigns, and navigating all the additional tasks that come with a managerial position.
Does this mean you shouldn't promote from your floor? Absolutely not! There is no way to better assess a manager's strengths and weaknesses than to see them in action for an extended period of time. However, you should be prepared to fully retrain this individual for their new role, as very little of their experience is transferable. Do yourself a favor and don't forget the most important activity on which a manager needs to focus daily: selling cars!
Here's the thing—sales managers have a ton of additional responsibilities and a lot of those are based on entirely new topics that are both interesting and time-consuming. Spreadsheets, meetings, and general office work run your life. You do more working “on the business” rather than “in the business”. And all too often, you forget about the #1 purpose of your dealership: to sell cars!
If your sales manager is not intimately involved in every deal that crosses your desk, they are not doing their job. When you list out a manager's priorities, is there anything that would take precedence over closing deals? Every step of the sales process should involve managers. Nothing will improve your bottom line better than improving your closing ratio. Your sales manager's ability on the floor singled them out; maximize their time where they excel!
This should all be very exciting to managers (closing deals is fun!), dealers (more $$), and customers (who always prefer working directly with a manager!). Start by limiting office time and prioritizing floor time, set minimum expectations for manager involvement in each deal (at meet and greets, presenting appraisal numbers, second pencil, etc.), and make sure your managers are following the processes just like salespeople are expected to do. The only reason to promote a great salesperson to a manager is to get them in front of more customers, otherwise they should stay on the floor!