Congratulations…you’re the new boss!
One of the things I love about my role with Butler Street is the privilege of helping others in my profession achieve success. While we have coached thousands of sales people how to win more clients, grow relationships, and earn more money… I enjoy the workshops focused on helping new sales managers most.
For the majority of my career, I have been a sales manager. In other words a coach, a therapist, a parent, a mentor, a business partner, an accountant, a strategist, a sales person…you get the idea. When you get your new business cards that say “Sales Manager,” they come with a rack full of hats. It’s the most difficult, most important, and most rewarding job in any company…hands down!
Like many first-time sales managers, I was promoted from a young sales rep to the manager within the office I worked. It’s not easy going from being one of the reps in the bullpen to the manager in a blink of an eye. I wish I knew then what I know now (don’t we all).
Many things come to mind. However, below are the 4 things every new sales manager can benefit from in the first 6 months on the job.
1. It's Not About You Anymore
The single most important thing you can do is develop a team of winners that don’t need you. Yes, you are a good sales-person, but can you teach others to be successful? Holes on your team will always hold you back. Imagine trying to win a baseball game with only 6 players. The coach doesn’t get to play! The quota doesn’t go away just because you have openings or non-performers. Always be developing your people and recruiting.
2. You're In Charge Of Culture
You are now officially in charge of culture…you set the tone and standards for your team. People will notice everything you do and DON’T do.
Establish a culture of consistency, preparation and accountability. Your success as a rep was likely due to spending extra time on the details needed to land the deal. Winning teams practice their craft religiously….it’s not optional. As the coach, making practice part of the weekly schedule will do more to properly develop your people than anything else.
3. Be A Managing Business Partner
Treat your team like adult business partners. Seems obvious. However, too many new managers (and seasoned managers for that matter) become intoxicated with their rank. Condescension is the ultimate form of disrespect. How can you expect your reps to respect you as a leader if you don’t show respect to them?
4. Eliminate Drama, Manage Agreements
Take some drama out of your life….manage the agreement and not the person. It’s simple, we all have agreements we live by in our personal and professional lives. Without agreements, chaos (aka drama) takes over.
Agreements should be a blend of business and cultural related behaviors. Some examples are:
Activity and Outcome Based: make 20 outbound phone calls every day and sell $30,000 each and every month
Behavior and Value Based: show up to meetings on time, prepared, and operate with integrity, candor, accountability, etc.
Communication: if you are struggling in any area of your job, share with your manager the challenges you are having
Once agreements are IN WRITING, communication becomes more honest, open and trusting. A culture of coaching to written agreements keeps the team focused and provides clear understanding of how to execute those priorities.
When agreements are not executed upon, its critical you communicate, communicate, communicate—immediately. Stuff happens and people slip. That’s OK! However, it’s on you to steer the conversation back to the agreement. Ask your rep:
Do you agree that this is important?
Are you willing to do this?
Do you need anything from me?
Confirm agreements and adjustments to agreements in writing. This doesn’t mean you’re managing a person out of the organization. Quite the contrary, you’re establishing a culture of consistency and accountability without the drama. Your people will appreciate and respect this approach!
The operational and technical part of the job will take a little longer. Rely on your manager to provide the guidance.
This will be a great and at times a tough journey. You will doubt yourself and question your decision to be a manager. Keep the faith. If you commit to your craft and take pride in helping others, I can assure you there is no greater personal satisfaction than helping others achieve their dreams!
At Butler Street, we take great pride in helping our clients and their people grow. Give us a call to learn more.