3 Things You Need to Know as a New Sales Manager

September 8, 2014 Doug O'Grady

3 things you need to know as a new sales managerAs a new sales manager, you have a lot on your plate. In addition to helping your sales reps achieve their personal and career goals, you have quotas to meet, customers and prospects to serve, team meetings to plan, and a million details to keep track of. It can seem overwhelming if you let it. If you pay attention to the following tips, however, you can make progress in your new role and lead your sales team to new heights.

Recognize That Your Sales Reps are Not Like You

One of the most commonly made mistakes for a new sales manager is to assume that your sales reps are like you. They're not like you, and until you realize this, you'll have problems.

In many cases, sales reps are promoted to management positions because they're great sales people. You probably spent quite a deal of time at the top of the list of high sales performers and your identity is wrapped up with being a top sales person in your organization. Your sales experience is great, but you will find it helpful to change your perspective a bit.

Your sales reps may not have the skills or drive to perform as well as you are accustomed to performing, and it can be very frustrating for a new sales manager to try to figure out how to make their sales reps to work just like them. You'll be much more successful when you stop trying to get your sales reps to be just like you. Find out what motivates them. Find out what they want and what they're good at, and then use those things to help them perform better. When you understand individuals on your sales team, you can help him or her to get what they want. This is difficult to do, but it can make a world of difference.

Find Satisfaction in Failing Less

You have a job as a new sales manager, and you're anxious for success, but it takes time to learn to lead your team and turn a poor record into a winning one. As much as you want instant success, be patient and learn to celebrate your incremental progress toward your goals.

This may begin with finding satisfaction in failing less often. If a sales rep is rejected just five times the second week instead of the eleven times during the first week, give him a high five. That's improvement. A positive attitude and a clap on the back at even small successes can make a big difference to your team when you're a new sales manager.

Get Out of Your Desk and Train, Observe, Coach, and Follow Up

If your new job came with a shiny new desk, it might be tempting to plant yourself in your cushy chair and stay put instead of running around from sales appointment to sales appointment, but resist this urge.

A new sales manager, and even an old sales manager for that matter, should lead from the field. When it comes down to it, your job is simple:

  • Train
  • Observe
  • Coach
  • Follow Up

You're the new sales manager because your good at selling, and selling doesn't come naturally to many of your sales reps. They need you to train them, watch their progress, coach them on skills they need help with, and follow up with their new skills.

How you go about doing this is up to you. One new sales manager might accompany sales reps on appointments, watch, and coach sales reps in action, using travel time to talk about strategies and techniques. Another new sales manager might schedule weekly meetings with sales reps to check in and offer counsel and advice.

As a new sales manager, you can begin making a difference to your company today. With these three simple but important tips, you can get your sales team moving toward greater success right now.

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