“Congrats, you’re the new manager. Now go hit your goals.”
It feels that way for a lot of first-time sales managers. I talk to a lot of members of the management ranks who are hungry for best practices and advice about how to lead their team. Heck, I was in their shoes five years ago, winging it too.
Some people are groomed for months or years to be a sales leader. Sometimes it happens on the fly because business needs move fast. Either way, you need to accept that you’re not going to have all the answers right away, and that’s ok. Hopefully, these tips will help.
1. Don’t expect your reps to be just like you
This is probably the biggest mistake most first-time managers make. You came in early. You stayed late. You made more calls. You set more meetings. Why don’t they?
Not everyone wants your job. Not everyone has the same drive you do. The factors go on and on.
The sooner you stop comparing your employees to yourself, the saner you’ll be. I promise.
2. You don’t have to manage the same way you were managed
We are a product of our environment. If you came up in a “Boiler Room” sales culture, it will be second nature for you to lead the same way.
But you don’t have to.
While it’s easy to revert to what you know, it doesn’t always make it right, and it doesn’t always suit newer generations of sellers just because it worked for you.
3. Get to know your team
My leadership philosophy is built upon positivity, accountability, respect, and trust – and all concepts flow both ways between me and my staff. If I want respect, I better give it.
However, trust is the most important. That’s probably because it’s the hardest to earn.
If I want a seller to trust me, they need to know that I genuinely care about them and have their best interest at heart. That takes time – and it can’t be fake.
Get to know them, their family and friends, their career goals, their past, and their talents.
"Good culture elevates talent. Bad culture smothers it."
4. Focus on culture
How fair and rewarding is your comp structure? Do your people feel valued or do they feel like a number? Do you foster an environment of learning and professional development? Do your people actually have fun doing their jobs? What’s the mood like among the sales team?
Good culture elevates talent. Bad culture smothers it.
People want to work where they’re valued and respected. Foster that or watch talent walk out the door.
5. Be a coach
Don’t just tell people what to do. SHOW them what to do. Go out on sales meetings with your reps. Teach them what a good sales process looks like, and then lead by example during calls and meetings with their clients and prospects.
Teach them. Coach them through it. Then watch them fly.
6. The Golden Rule
Treat people the way you’d like to be treated. Pretty simple, but so many leaders forget this when they focus exclusively on goals.
Kevin Klammer is a sales trainer with Sports Business Solutions. His 15-year career has spanned sales and sales management in the NFL, MLB, NHL, NCAA, and media sales and sales management in a top 10 media market in the US. He is a B2B sales guru and champion of building modern sales cultures that thrive and win. To learn more about Sports Business Solutions visit our website and follow along on social: Twitter Facebook Instagram