How To Become A Good Sales Manager
How to become a good sales manager is what every new manager thinks about.
Unfortunately most new sales managers aren't adequately trained before they jump into the new job.
So what did I do when I was a new manager? Plain and simple, I just hit the ground running as fast as I could.
I did what most new sales managers do under similar circumstances - I improvised.
Here's the formula: Instinct + Intuition = Improvisation
It's the default position for people who don't have access to the acquisition of new skills - in this case Sales Management skills.
If I knew then what I know now; I would definitely make some changes - a lot of them.
The first thing I would do differently is ask more questions. Back then I was so sure of myself I didn't think I needed to ask any questions - because I believed I had all the answers.
Unfortunately, the reality is I didn't know what I didn't know. Go read that line again because we all suffer from it.
I would ask my boss these 2 questions:
1. What are your expectations of me for the first 90 days?
And . . .
2. How will you measure my success during the first 90 days?
Look, you need to ask your boss some questions and you also need to ask your sales reps some questions too.
It's too bad that hindsight is always 20/20.
I should've asked each of my 9 sales reps two questions during that very first travel day with them.
1. What are the biggest challenges you face on a daily basis?
And . . .
2. What are your priorities for managing your sales territory at the present time?
Just imagine what I could have learned by asking these questions.
I didn't attend a sales management course because none was offered to me. I didn't go out and buy a bunch of books on sales management because I stayed focused on selling.
Here are a few things I would do immediately to help me become a good sales manager.
=> I would enroll in a sales management course - immediately!
=> I would purchase two sales management textbooks for reference.
=> I would subscribe to the Wall Street Journal.
In addition to all of this I would go out of my way to recognize achievement within my sales team.
In sales little things mean everything which means you need to pay attention to the little things your salespeople are doing right. Give them an "Oscar."
I would however avoid recognizing mediocrity because it only lowers the bar for your sales team. You have to remember this - it never raises the bar, it always lowers the bar.
I would constantly, and I mean constantly, remind my sales team that attitude has everything to do with everything.
And it all begins with your positive attitude.
It means you always expect the best from your salespeople - all of them and no exceptions. You'll always get what you expect.
It also means you always expect the best outcomes from any situation you're involved with.
Becoming a good sales manager also means you don't take yourself too seriously.
You are a work in progress and your positive attitude combined with your always smiling face will make you an outstanding role model for your sales team.
Finally, good sales managers aren't born they are made.
Enjoy the ride and you'll become a good sales manager.