It was sometime during 1994 that my Sales Director came to me and asked me to take on the role of sales manager.  For over 7 years I was a top performing sales rep for  MCI, a fortune 50 company.  My Director felt that since I was a strong salesman, I must automatically  have what it takes to be a successful sales manager.  Young and full of drive, I jumped at the opportunity to prove my managment prowess.  In fact, nothing could have been further from the truth. Those traits which made me successful at sales; relentless perseverance, unwavering focus and a tenacious approach actually failed me as I attempted to manage the way in which I had been successful selling.  The results were pretty predictable; I lacked delegation, focused on driving each sale and pretty much managed as a “Super Sales Rep.”  I attempted to solve every problem, get tied up in tasks, and failed to embrace the incredible talent of my team.  My team of 8 sales reps did not respond to my frenetic, task oriented approach. I sensed I was not doing well, but I had no mentoring, little oversight and no training or feedback. In retrospect, this was a major change in the way I needed to approach my job and I was ill-prepared.

The result: 18 months of hell for me, my people and as a result, the corporation.

Please understand that I am blaming no one, as I was young and energetic with a desire to achieve. I jumped at the opportunity, only to find that I was seriously ill-equipped to do the job.  It was certainly one of the most stressful times in my career. But the lessons learned, while painful at the time, have made me a better leader.  I can point to five valuable lessons learned as a new sales manager:

  • EQ trumps IQ everytime
  • PEOPLE are infinitely more important than TASKS
  • Coach till it hurts.. then coach some more
  • HIRE slow  FIRE fast
  • Metrics matter!

You may be saying… these are obvious best practices and should be adopted by all good managers, and you would be correct.  But as a young green sales manager who had been a terror as a sales rep, these lessons are hard earned.  The good news is that I did adopt these and other best practices, but it was an excruciating and humbling process.

 

I would like to share these Five lessons in the hopes it saves you PAIN and makes you a better sales leader

 

SALES LEADERS:

Join us March 21st

8 AM    breakfast

11 AM  departures

Millenium Hotel

2040 Walden Avenue

The breakfast and workshop are free

Save your Seat(s)

sales leadership best Practices

 

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