You will have read some of this material in past posts but not all of it. With this post I will start a new Monday morning feature-common sense rules for sales managers. They will be laid out roughly in a sequence that is similar to the events that will unfold in a sales manager’s life soon after they assume their first management role.
Break out the champagne! You’ve been waiting a while for this opportunity and it has finally fallen in your lap-sales management. You’ve been with Widget International for 5 years. You have grown your territory every year and you are one of the leaders in the company. Because of that and other considerations you were named sales manager for the Midwest region, which consists of 7 salespeople.
Common sense rule #1 is to not rush into the job with an itch to remodel, retrain, refocus, re-anything to the salespeople. The chances that you will make the wrong decision early in the job is high and, what’s more, the salespeople are not looking for any immediate intervention. Here’s what I mean. I coached little league when my son was that age. On the first team I coached there was this smallish kid in left field. I took one look at him and groaned. His mitt looked like something Abner Doubleday might have worn; his hat had more angles than a trig book. My mind was made up that little Bobby was better off hidden in right field. When I hit a fly ball to the kid he took off like a bullet train, camped under the ball and yelled “I got it” and then rifled the ball into the cut off man who didn’t know he was the cut off man. So much for first impressions!
Change is required when conditions warrant it. First time sales managers may think that change is required, particularly if they are familiar with the salespeople and the company but until you are familiar with the salespeople as their sales manager then wait on change. Too often sales managers want to “make their mark” early so people know where they stand. Too often I’ve seen sales managers have to back track from their first actions because the outcome was different than they expected. If that happens then the manager looks indecisive, which opens up another can of worms.
The Final Thought: “We’re supposed to be perfect our first day on the job and then show constant improvement.” Ed Vargo