How to Maximize Your First 90 Days as a New Sales Manager
Being a New Sales Manager Is Not Always Easy
Congratulations! You have been promoted to a new sales manager. As a new manager of the sales team, your responsibilities have now shifted from hitting your own sales targets to ensuring that your sales team consistently meets their collective sales targets. No longer measured by your individual hard work and skills as a salesperson, you will now be evaluated by the performance of the group you manage.
For most, being a new sales manager requires a whole new approach and a new set of sales management skills.
The First 90 Days as a New Sales Manager Matters
The first 90- days are critical for setting expectations for the future. Keep in mind that first impressions are hard to erase. You don’t want to overwhelm the team with “new and different” or with your strong personality. Neither do you want to appear weak and incapable of leadership.
There is a happy medium where, over time and with the team’s support, you change what needs to be changed and you can exert your influence once you have earned the team’s respect.
A Roadmap for The First 90 Days
Here is a road map for getting you through those critical first 90 days:
#1. Take it slow.
The sales team has been functioning to some capacity without you – .maybe not as well as the CEO would like, but there is a sales culture and pattern of interactions there that will take time to change. Rather than charge in and list all that you see going wrong, listen well and observe. Make changes only after you have a clear understanding of the strategic priorities, organizational culture, and team dynamics.
#2. Assess the team.
Take a look at where the team stands and get a sense of who the top performers are in terms of the metrics that matter most (i.e. sales revenue, margin, win rate, portfolio mix, deal size, sales cycle, client satisfaction). Try to figure out what specific sales skills and attitudes enable your high performers to succeed. Put together a list of the critical sales competencies; these are the core sales skills you want to hire and build into your current sales team.
#3. Identify professional development needs.
Most sales managers have their “pet” sales process and want to put their sales team through the system that has worked for them. As a new sales manager, try to keep an open mind. Likely some business sales training is needed but don’t force-feed it to your sales team. Remember that change is difficult and is naturally resisted.
A quality solution selling training program will imbue in participants the right frame of mind for successful sales in which the focus is more on helping the customer to succeed than “pushing a product.”
#4. Provide effective sales tools.
You will want your sales team to spend as much time as possible helping their customers to succeed and as little time as possible writing sales reports, attending administrative meetings, and entering basic data. Give them the sales tools that will increase their efficiency and reduce administrative overhead.
#5. Keep your sales goals realistic.
Set sales goals for yourself and, with your team, set goals for team performance. But, again, patience and realism should rule. If you strike too high, you risk a loss of morale and motivation. But if you strike too low, you decrease overall effort and undermine the team’s confidence.
The Bottom Line
Enjoy your moment of glory as you accept the promotion to sales manager and then be prepared to set the course for team success. Get to know your sales team, align with the sales culture, and then slowly take charge. This is the way to earn the right to lead and to reach for long-term sales success.
To learn more about raising sales team performance as a new manager, download The 4 Most Important Attributes to Look for When Sales Reps Miss Their Targets