In a salesperson position, you are a high performer, consistently closing sales and smashing quotas. Why not make the logical leap toward a managerial position? Then you could apply your know-how to drive to an entire sales team. It seems like an easy transition. However, as a lot of salespeople-turned-managers realize, there are unforeseen and unique challenges in the role.
When you were a salesperson, you worried about a single sales funnel: your own. As a manager, all of a sudden, you are in charge of the collective funnel. This multiplies your area of focus and forces you to take a step back for a big-picture approach.
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Add to that the balancing act of trying to nurture your team while still hitting quotas. Forbes reported that in 2017, 57% of reps missed their quotas. Moreover, that figure hasn’t changed much in the intervening couple of years. The only difference now is that you are now accountable.
In short, assuming a sales manager position is difficult. Luckily, you aren’t the first person to make the transition. Therefore, there is a cache of experiential wisdom from which to pull. Here are four critical lessons new sales managers can use to help lead a winning team.
Be Proactive About Your Team’s Performance
If you aren’t monitoring your individual team members’ performance, you are allowing for little perforations in your sales funnel or pipeline. To tighten things up, you have to remain vigilant and proactive. You must monitor sales activity, spot issues, and amend the sales process. It might seem like a lot to take on, but lead tracking gives you greater visibility into all these activities and is easy to deploy. So there’s really no excuse to be hands-off.
Source Good Candidates
Brian Signorelli brought up a good point in the retrospective he wrote about his first year as a sales manager. To paraphrase, he said that much like the sales pipeline is fed leads to hopefully spit out loyal customers, so too must the hiring process be fed prospective employees if it hopes to create loyal team members. View your hiring process this way, and you can see the need for constant sourcing, keeping your eye out for new sales talent.
This is one that you are hopefully already adept in. In the same way that you would actively listen to a lead when they express pain points, you need to actively listen to your team members when they express frustrations, discontentment, or defeat. Listen to what’s going wrong, and work with them to create actionable solutions.
Wherever Possible, Automate
The kryptonite of a well-oiled sales funnel is mismanagement and human error. Relying on sales reps to cherry-pick their leads and follow up whenever they remember is going to result in a lot of lost leads.
Instead, consider deploying a sales engagement platform. This can prioritize your reps’ queues in real time, so they are always working the next best lead. It further automates the process as well, by auto-dialing that lead. Not only is it a smart way of boosting productivity, but it ensures you keep a well-sealed sales funnel.