Are you a new sales manager?
Maybe you rose up as a salesperson in your organization and just got promoted to management. Congratulations!
Or maybe you’ve been a manager for a while and now have salespeople reporting to you.
Whatever your path to sales management has been, it’s important to get a good start as a new sales manager. Here are 5 things to remember.
1. Think of yourself as a coach.
When you think of your role as a new sales manager, make sure to position yourself as a coach for your team.
This is especially critical for salespeople who have been promoted into management. It’s not about going along on sales calls and closing for your team. Instead, you are a resource, helping your team prepare and then setting them free.
If you don’t have a selling background of your own, acting as a coach can be a good way to help your team without having a lot of expertise. You can always help people set goals, brainstorm challenges, and be accountable.
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2. Let people fail.
In the same vein, it’s important as a new sales manager that you give your team the space to learn and grow on their own. This will require occasionally letting people learn from failures.
You may notice salespeople going off track, and it’s not always a good idea to jump in and rescue them. Instead, decide whether it might be best to let them fail and learn from the mistake.
3. Don’t try to make clones.
Again, whether your background is sales or not, it can be tempting, especially as a new sales manager, to expect all your salespeople to be the same.
You might think that salespeople need to have the same personality, the same approach to business development, and the same communication style. That’s not true!
You can have a team of people with very different styles, all of who are successful. And with all their diverse perspectives, you’ll have an endless supply of new ideas.
As you work with a diverse team, make sure to adjust your coaching and motivational style to match each person.
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4. Don’t try to be a buddy.
If you are a new sales manager and you’re trying to be your team’s best friend, you’re likely going to get into some trouble.
As a sales manager, you are in the unenviable position between two major stakeholders in your organization. Your sales team is the lifeblood of the business; they need to succeed to keep you afloat. And they probably know it.
Your leadership group will likely push you and your team outside your comfort zone. And your team will sometimes demand more resources than you are able to provide. If you are too close to either side, you won’t be an effective advocate for either.
Additionally, close friendship makes it hard to hold people accountable and treat them fairly. Work to develop trust with your team members, but remember your responsibility as their manager.
5. Pursue management training.
Managers are a critical part of any organization, but unfortunately, many companies don’t invest in leadership or management training. This is a big mistake.
Whatever your path to management, there are critical skills you’ll need to be successful. Advocate for management training for yourself and other key leaders in your organization. You’ll learn best practices for coaching, accountability, and dealing with complex situations.
Time and financial investment in management training will pay off with increased performance.