A common challenge of new supervisors and managers is the shift from managing one’s own time and tasks, to minding others in one’s care. If a company could help their sales team high performers transition effectively from selling to managing, this would lead to a motivated sales team and eventually, growing sales and financial success. But how should these new managers navigate the shift in roles? How could they enhance their skills to ensure success?
We asked Jeff Chua, an entrepreneur armed with years of experience in sales management, for some pointers for new sales managers to consider.
Lead by example
The first part of the transition is not only to think like a manager, but also to act like one. For instance, always be available to help your people out. Next, think about your strengths or your specific skills set, and be sure to impart this well. Hence, if you were a good “closer,” transfer these skills to those under you. If you are a good planner or very organized, then teach your people how to plan. Your team will notice, observe you in action and follow your lead.
Set ambitious yet achievable goals
An effective sales manager will first set ambitious and audacious goals on what will be achieved as a team. This is the vision, the “north star” that if achieved, will define success. While this vision should be bold, to attain this, our objectives must be specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-bound. Current performance should be taken into account, along with an analysis of external and internal factors that could affect results. Next, proceed with identifying prospective leads and ensure that step-by-step tasks are taken to secure the sale.
As an effective sales manager, you also have to recognize that your people may have a long to-do list that makes them feel overwhelmed. Guide them on which tasks and objectives to prioritize.
Be both a cheerleader and disciplinarian
An effective sales manager must be courageous in addressing poor performers, while still being able to lift the team up. Analyze and investigate why a team member might not be performing well. Improve communication lines by having open and honest conversations. Seek feedback and identify points for improvement for both yourself and your team. It’s likely that the employee already knows and understands what went wrong and what he or she must do next time. However, if after all these efforts have been undertaken, and the person is still not performing, you have to hold them accountable.
Your team’s success is yours, too
Your team cannot succeed unless each person on the team achieves their sales goals. You will have to monitor and assess sales targets periodically, so that changes and improvements could be made throughout the year.
Ultimately, as an effective sales manager, you have to figure out the equation, i.e., all the smaller targets that when added up, will ensure that you hit your original ambitious goal.