New Sales Manager Tips for Success

New Sales Manager Tips for Success
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3 New Sales Manager Tips for Success for Your First 90-Days
We know from our sales management training that being a high performing solution seller often leads to a promotion to sales management. Organizationally, there’s good reason. Research by the Institute for Corporate Productivity found that companies with a high percentage of sales managers chosen from internal ranks have increased levels of employee engagement, greater employee retention, and higher productivity.

And if promoted based upon a fair assessment of sales leadership skills, a Great Place to Work survey of over 400,000 people found that when employees believe promotions are managed effectively, they are more than:

  • Twice as likely to give extra effort at work.
  • Twice as likely to plan for having a long-term future with their company.
  • Five times as likely to believe their leaders act with integrity.

The Challenge of Sales Management
We also know that most new sales leaders quickly recognize that the capabilities and mindsets required for effective sales leadership are vastly different than those required to be an effective salesperson. Instead of personally seeing deals through from start to finish, sales managers must meet ambitious team-based revenue targets, build and manage a sales team, make difficult decisions, and navigate internal dynamics.  Unfortunately, experience as a high performing solution seller does not fully prepare sales reps to lead others. Your success is now based upon the success of others, and the stakes are higher.

3 New Sales Manager Tips for Success
Based upon data from our people manager assessment center combined with feedback from solution selling training participants, here are three new sales manager tips for success:

  1. Understand the Current Situation
    Schedule sessions with each of your sales team members to understand what’s working and what’s not working.  Review their individual sales pipelines to determine how realistic their forecasts are and whether they are targeting the right customers.  Review each of your rep’s prospects to be sure that your unique value proposition resonates with them and their circumstances.

    Then, with your reps, categorize their pipeline to ensure that you both agree on likelihood of success and where each ideal prospect resides in the sales process. The goal is to have realistic timeframes for qualified prospects to establish where you stand and where people should focus their sales efforts.

    If your ideal target client profile, differentiation, or sales process is unclear, undefined, or not agreed upon, apply the brakes and invest the time to create strategic sales clarity before you move forward.  Our organizational alignment research found that strategic sales clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing sales teams.  Do not be fooled into increasing sales performance pressure until everyone is pointed in the same direction.
  2. Set the Tone for High Performance
    High performing sales cultures create the circumstances for sales teams to perform at their peak.  Behavioral and performance expectations start at the top and set the tone for team norms.  As a new sales manager, first assess if there is enough psychological team safety for a healthy sales culture.  

    Organizational health is required for there to be enough trust to raise, clarify, and align sales performance expectations.  Then move quickly to remove the key cultural barriers that are hindering sales strategy execution.  Any business practices, reward systems, metrics, organizational structures, performance management processes, attitudes, behaviors, or actions that are misaligned with your sales strategy must be visibly addressed.
  3. Coach for Success
    Our training measurement research found that found that sales professionals who receive consistent sales coaching from managers outperform their peers 4-to-1 in terms of quota attainment.  Recent McKinsey research found that top sales organizations commit three-quarters more time coaching their sales reps compared to lower performing sales teams.

    Unfortunately, the majority of sales reps report getting less than one hour of sales coaching per week.  This is a mistake.  With buyer expectations and competition increasing, coaching sales reps to add value to their customers is more valuable than ever.

The Bottom Line
Sales managers have an enormous impact on the success of the overall business enterprise. Business sales training, alone, is not enough to move the needle as a newly appointed sales manager.  Get the lay of the land, create a high performance sales culture, and coach for success.

To learn more about being a successful new sales manager, download The Truth About the Biggest Sales Coaching Mistakes

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