- If you are a new sales manager, you might be wondering how to make the transition from a top-performing rep to an effective coach and leader. In this article, you will learn 12 things you need to do as a new sales manager, according to Practice Better’s CEO, Kim Walsh.
- To find out more about how to empower your reps, scale your management process, and foster team growth, read the article here.
As a new sales manager, you have a fresh set of tasks and challenges in front of you. The achievements that led to your promotion into sales management won’t necessarily make you great at it. Your success isn’t focused on your individual performance anymore, but on how well you empower your sales reps to sell. You need in-depth knowledge of yourself and your team members, as well as a solid managerial structure. In a post for Hubspot, Practice Better CEO Kim Walsh shares a dozen practical steps managers can follow to succeed. Her specific, hands-on advice is valuable to all sales managers, especially new ones.
- Follow 12 steps to succeed as a sales manager.
- 1. Evaluate yourself.
- 2. Learn about your team.
- 3. Determine what management style team members prefer.
- 4. Set up a “weighted” sales pipeline.
- 5. Hold weekly individual sales forecasting meetings.
- 6. Offer optional personal development meetings.
- 7. Set a sales pace for each week, month and quarter.
- 8. Hire people who fit your team.
- 9. Foster peer-to-peer learning.
- 10. Prioritize your team’s growth.
- 11. Don’t do your reps’ work for them.
- 12. “Put your company before your team and your team before yourself.”
Follow 12 steps to succeed as a sales manager.
Your sales accomplishments have earned you a managerial position, but now your success and effectiveness depend on your team’s achievements, not on your ability to sell.
“Ask yourself as a new manager…what is my leadership style? What is my management style? What is my coaching style?…Where are my areas for improvement?”
Your company’s results and your outcomes depend on the performance of your salespeople, so your priority is empowering them to excel.
1. Evaluate yourself.
Audit your weaknesses and, especially, your strengths in your new role. Communicate your leadership strengths to your team members as part of crafting compatible approaches.
2. Learn about your team.
Determine what management style your team members prefer. Assess each rep’s personality, abilities and work style. Ask what motivates or challenges your salespeople. Learn their approach to their work.
“You can‘t get everyone pulling in the right direction by giving them all the same kind of attention. Tailoring your management style to suit your individual reps might sound challenging — mostly because it is — but it’s also one of the coolest aspects of a managerial role.”
The more you understand each person, the more you’ll be able to support and guide your team members with personalized insights. To inform your work using this approach, read up on situational leadership.
3. Determine what management style team members prefer.
Ask your reps how they prefer to receive feedback and coaching, so you can gauge what they’ll need from your working relationship. Determine how you can help them improve consistently and reach their goals.
4. Set up a “weighted” sales pipeline.
To keep track of your team’s progress, set up a sales pipeline with each potential sale weighted according to its position in the sales process, A “weighted pipeline” gives you an accurate picture of your team’s current deals. Assign a probability percentage value to each possible sale based on its progress.
“To set [sales] goals, compare your reps’ benchmarks to company benchmarks. On average, how many deals [do reps] need to close to meet their quota…how many meetings do they need to book?”
Initial meetings with potential influencers have less value than meetings with decision-makers. Because all sales are conditional until they close, only closed deals have 100% value in the pipeline.
- If your rep meets with an insider with buying influence, the initial sales call has a weighted value of 5%, so on a $100 deal, the weighted value is $5. If the prospect is a decision maker, the weight jumps to 7%.
- Presentations or demonstrations have a weight of 20% for meetings with influencers and 40% for meetings with decision-makers.
- Deals awaiting budget approval rank 60%; those pending legal approval weigh 70% and deals at the contract stage weigh in at 80%.
- Closed deals have a full weighted value of 100%.
As you tally your team’s pending sales based on their weighted value, you’ll get a more accurate picture of where your team is and of the potential value of each person’s pipeline. When you report your sales status to your superiors, refer to your weighted pipeline. Since any deal can fall through at any time, try to create a pipeline four times larger than your sales goal.
5. Hold weekly individual sales forecasting meetings.
Create a routine, weekly sales assessment and forecasting meeting with each salesperson to identify which of his or her pending deals to include in the team’s pipeline. Ask specific questions to gauge each sale’s weight and evaluate possible roadblocks.
6. Offer optional personal development meetings.
Offer salespeople an optional 30-minute weekly meeting to discuss their career or development concerns. Let them tell you what they want to discuss. Salespeople’s metrics can inform you as to who is doing fine and can deliver independently and who needs more attention. Those who may fall behind will need a plan for staying on target or catching up.
7. Set a sales pace for each week, month and quarter.
Determine steady weekly, monthly and quarterly sales goals. Develop unified metrics covering each salesperson’s number of calls, meetings, demos and deals per week. Following timed sales goals helps reps become accountable for their achievements, based on weekly targets. To set these goals, work backward from the number of deals a rep should complete each year, and break down the required activities and suggested calendar.
8. Hire people who fit your team.
Hiring is an important aspect of your team’s growth, so you may need to refine the existing corporate process to fit its needs. Create a clear strategy for recruiting and hiring new people.
“Your team has specific strengths, gaps and challenges — and your hiring process should reflect those.”
Assess candidates’ compatibility with the team and the open role. Outline a detailed profile of the person you want. Always check a candidate’s references.
9. Foster peer-to-peer learning.
Encourage each sales rep’s growth inside your team structure. Explore mentorship opportunities so people can learn from one another.
10. Prioritize your team’s growth.
Find the formats and environments that boost your salespeople’s internal learning, such as team outings or collaborative team calls or meetings. How well your sales reps develop as professionals and as people is part of your legacy.
11. Don’t do your reps’ work for them.
New managers who are experienced salespeople often make the mistake of stepping in and doing their team members’ work for them. That’s the wrong kind of help. Instead, guide them and discuss problem cases, so they can “help themselves, down the line.” Empower them to do their job, and teach them how to solve problems.
12. “Put your company before your team and your team before yourself.”
Remain mindful of your company’s goals. To succeed as a manager, you must fulfill your responsibilities for meeting your firm’s strategic targets. Remember you’re leading your sales team for the purpose of supporting your organization’s bigger picture.
Sales, Management, Leadership, Coaching, Business, Career, Professional Development, Self-Help, Nonfiction, Education
About the Author
Kim Walsh is CEO of Practice Better, which sells management software for health and wellness professionals.
The article [12 Things You Need to do as a New Sales Manager: According to Practice Better’s CEO] by [Kim Walsh] is a practical guide for new sales managers who want to succeed in their role. The author, who is the CEO of Practice Better, a sales coaching platform, shares her insights and tips on how to transition from a top-performing rep to an effective coach and leader.
The article covers three main areas of focus for new sales managers: learning to empower your reps, scaling your own management process, and fostering team growth. For each area, the author provides four specific actions that new sales managers should take, such as assessing your strengths, getting to know your team, creating a sales plan, and monitoring progress. The article also includes examples, anecdotes, and resources to illustrate the points and help the readers apply them to their own situation.
The article is well-written, engaging, and informative. It offers valuable advice and best practices for new sales managers who want to excel in their role and help their team achieve their goals. The author draws from her own experience and expertise as a sales leader and a sales coach, and provides relevant and realistic suggestions that can be easily implemented.
The article is also structured in a clear and logical way, with each section covering a different aspect of sales management and providing actionable steps to follow. The article is suitable for anyone who is new to sales management or who wants to improve their skills and performance as a sales leader.