Thanks for joining us on this week’s episode of the Catapulting Commissions podcast. One of the most common questions Anthony has been asked throughout his nearly two decades of professional sales is about the transition from contributor to leader. It’s a new job, and many sales managers feel like they have a truly “new” job. Today, Anthony is breaking down the top five challenges these managers face and how to overcome them.
The first challenge is the transition from individual contributor to team leader. Many people have the aspirations of becoming a leader in some capacity, and that’s great. But, just because you’re a good sales rep, doesn’t mean you’ll be a good sales manager. When you transition from rep to manager, it’s no longer about you. No one is going to care about the level of success you had as a rep when you become a manager. The reason people struggle is because their identity is tied to their results. Here’s the fix: remember you can’t be a “super rep.” You cannot be at every appointment and close every sale for your team. You’ll run yourself ragged. This is a long game. Secondly, empower your people. They can do the job they are hired for. They may not be as good as you are or were, but your job is to coach and teach, not to do.
The second challenge new sales managers face is time management. As a sales rep, you know your schedule better than anyone. When you move into management, you’re in a position to manage not only your time but the time of your people. Plus, you have a significant increase in administrative responsibility. Needless to say, there is a lot on your plate. Anthony’s feedback is this: first, acknowledge that you can’t do everything in one day. You CAN make a priority list of your tasks and break them into achievable, bite-sized things. Additionally, don’t take responsibility for minute tasks. For example, if a rep needs you to send an email on their behalf, have them write it up for you. Then, you can tweak it as you need and send it out.
The next challenge sales managers face is finding the right people. Hiring a skilled sales representative is incredibly difficult. Recruiting salespeople–it’s easy to get resumes. How you filter them is what is challenging. To combat this problem, understand that you’re going to make mistakes. The only way you get better at finding the right person is by hiring the wrong person. Consider the series of interviews you have–hold the standard that they must be better than the last. It’s a sales interview, there has to be selling throughout the entire process. It’s about every story having a point that’s relative to what they’re talking about. Also know–past results indicate future results.
The fourth challenge is retaining your team, especially during challenging times. There is no cookie-cutter approach. Keeping your team motivated is about ‘off self, on purpose.’ To keep a team’s energy high, remember what they’re thinking about; what’s in it for me. Every conversation should be about that. What’s in it for the sales rep is an individual conversation that needs to be had with every person on your team. As you climb the org chart, at a certain point, your customer changes. If you’re seen as people over profit, they’ll know they have an ally in their corner.
Finally, a huge challenge sales managers face is consistency. You have to be consistent with how you manage your sales team. There can be a tendency to treat top-performing reps differently than a lower performer. Accountability should be the same across the board. What’s good for a tenured rep should be good for the new one. It’s also about being consistent with the relationships you have. If you take one rep out to dinner, every rep should be invited out to dinner individually. If you’re going golfing with one rep, everyone is going golfing. There are certainly challenges that come with this, but find a way to have a similar level of relationship. It will be your friend down the road.