New Sales Managers, Don’t Miss Out On This AdviceI am going through the most exciting time in my life and I couldn’t be happier. Not only am I expecting a baby boy in one month, but I just became an aunt for the first time. Meeting my nephew Luke the day he was born was amazing and I know the same will be true when our little one arrives soon.
Along with this excitement about becoming a mom and an aunt comes some thoughts of nervousness at the same time. I find myself asking things like: What if I haven’t bought everything the baby needs? Will the 500 newborn diapers I have be enough to get us through week one? How will I tell if the baby is too hot or too cold or just right?
This excitement and anxiousness is similar to some of the emotions associated with taking on a new job, like becoming a sales manager for the first time. You are overwhelmed with congratulatory remarks and can’t wait to move forward to the next step of your career. At the same time, you think to yourself: Oh crap! I hope I am good at this! What if I am bad at it and my reps don’t respect me? With this in mind I came across an interesting article, Advice for brand-new sales managers (from 16 leaders who’ve been there), where sales leaders I look up to in the industry share advice they wish they could have given themselves when they became sales managers for the first time.
Great advice is included in this article and I highly recommend taking a read. It prompted me to think about the advice I would give to a new sales manager and here’s what I can offer:
Don’t get frustrated if your team doesn’t operate how you did as a rep. One of the first frustrations I had as a sales manager was getting aggravated when reps didn’t follow the same process I did. Be open-minded and understand that everyone has their way of getting the job done. You need to be patient. If they aren’t as organized as you, or if they don’t make as many calls as you did, just remember that you are in a management role for a reason: to provide guidance and coaching to make your team better. Work with your reps and don’t force your methodology on them, but do coach them with it and show them how it will help them succeed. You will be surprised at how they adopt your methodologies while respecting you at the same time.
Don’t be too nice. Odds are you are in the position you are in right now because you are a nice person that everyone likes on top of having a go-getter attitude. You have most likely always been the first to lead a team – from the time you had your first group school project to leading your high school sports team to the finals. While you should use this to manage a high performing team, just remember to hold your ground so you don’t get walked all over. If one of your reps is underperforming, give them a warning if needed. If they are consistently showing up late to meetings, call them out. You have to walk the fine line of being liked while also making sure you are meeting and exceeding the goals that your boss has set for you.
Don’t let micro-managing get in the way of leading. I won’t be the first to admit that sometimes a little micro-management is necessary when goals aren’t consistently being met, or if you have an employee that you just need to keep an extra eye on for various reasons. However, what is more important is that you gain respect from your team by hearing them out before pointing fingers and scolding them for not hitting their numbers. For instance, when you see low activity numbers or goals not being hit, ask them to help you understand what obstacles are getting in the way and ask questions that will lead them to think strategically about the situation. Try to offer them tools like special reports to help them in keeping on track to hit their goals instead of being overbearing about it.
One month to go until I become a mom for the first time! It’s exciting and a bit scary at the same time. If you are a new sales manager and feel excited but a little nervous at the same time, don’t get too overwhelmed. Focus on the fact that you are in the role you are in because you’ve earned it. Now, go make it happen!
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