Sales managers with new sales teams – first things first – focus!

New sales managers

New sales managers

When front-line sales managers take over a new sales team, the natural tendency is to get things moving – make a mark. While admirable, the question becomes – “Get going on what?”

For example, it is not uncommon that the “what” turns out to be a bunch of stuff that choruses of those on your sales team are complaining about.  While this makes your sales team feel good and will reduce the noise level, it may do little beyond that.

Let’s look at another approach that is more likely to achieve your business goals – start by identifying the reasons behind your sales team’s success and focus on leveraging success.

Any manager will share when moving into a new management position there are a ton of things you can “fix.” But, they will also tell you that you can’t fix everything and that some of the things you can fix aren’t really going to help achieve your business objective.  When it comes to the “fix everything” approach not only is there not enough time, your sales team will find their head spinning as they try digest one change after another.

But, what if you take a more measured approach?

  • First – identify and focus on what you team is doing successfully. Figure out how to codify those successes so they are repeatable and can be used more pervasively. 
  • After that is done, identify what you believe “needs fixing” in order to meet your goals, prioritize which ones to address in what order and act on them one by one.

If you are a front-line sales manager there are lots of people pulling you in lots of directions.  Consequently, for front-line sales managers taking over new sales teams it is easy to fall into the trap of addressing the urgent versus the important.  One answer to that dilemma is to rise above the noise and focus on getting a few important things right.

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About Richard Ruff

For more than 30 years Dr. Richard Ruff and Dr. Janet Spirer - the founders of Sales Horizons - have worked with the Fortune 1000 - such as UPS, Canon USA, Smith & Nephew, Boston Scientific, Owens & Minor, Textron - to design and develop sales training programs. During his career Dick has authored numerous articles related to sales effectiveness and co-authored "Managing Major Sales", a book about sales management, "Parlez-Vous Business" which helps sales people integrate the language of business into the sales process, and "Getting Partnering Right" – a research based work on the best practices for forming strategic selling alliances. Dr. Ruff received his Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology from the University of Tennessee and a B.S. from Rennsselaer Polytechnic Institute.
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