Why New Sales Leaders Fail
Are you a new sales leader, or have you just been promoted into a sales leadership role? The odds of failure are high! I will share the number one reason why new sales managers fail.
Time and time again, companies promote their best sales reps into managerial roles. Heads of sales feel that they owe it to their best salespeople to allow them to advance. Conversely, top salespeople think that they would make great managers because of their success in sales.
It makes sense, but the reality is different. We have seen this in the business where companies lose twice when they decide. They lose their best sales rep, negatively impacting the sales team.
The impact could be catastrophic, timely, and costly to fix, usually resulting in a bad outcome.
Without strong coaching and training, you are sending a lamb to the wolves.
For new sales managers, things got worse.
What the study found
- Only 32% of organizations had the training to support the transition from sales rep to sales manager.
- Only 23% of respondents agreed/strongly agreed that their organization had a formal process to evaluate the transition from sales rep to a manager.
- Compared to the previous survey, there was a significant drop in the support for new sales managers making the transition.
Two-thirds of new sales managers are given no formal support or training. Indeed, many new sales managers fail.
When I was promoted from rep to a sales manager, it wasn’t easy, and I struggled in my first year with little support. Having to manage both my peers and my boss was a real challenge.
What can you do to improve the odds of success?
Over the last 15 years of coaching new sales managers and executives, I have learned that there is one mistake that many new sales managers make that can be the difference between success and failure. I have learned that this is the essence of leadership and the building block to being a successful leader.
The challenge is that the new sales manager starts their new role half-cocked. They want to prove themselves immediately before laying down the foundation for success.
The #1 reason new sales managers fail is that they don’t build trust with their team in their first 90 days.
Failure to build trust is simply a failure.
New sales managers meet their salespeople and immediately want to talk about business. They want to get up to speed on their rep’s territories.
Asking questions like……. what are your biggest opportunities? What are your challenges?
The new sales managers feel that they can fix their team’s issues immediately since they are super reps.
The rep knows the drill because every time they have a new sales manager, they are asked the same dumb questions.
I say there will be plenty of time to talk business. But not NOW!
Now is the time to let your salespeople know you care. The first time I heard this quote was when I became the VP of Sales.
“People Don’t Care How Much You Know Until They Know How Much You Care” Theodore Roosevelt
I realized that this was the key to establishing myself as a leader. People didn’t care about my successes, my vision or my plans. They wanted to know that I cared about them as people.
Things You Should Do in Your First 90 Days
1. Get to know each of your salespeople.
- Find out about their family:
- What is the name of their spouse and kids
- How old are their kids
- What are their kid’s interests
- Get to know them:
- What is their background
- What hobbies do they have
- What are they passionate about
- What is their favorite sport/team
- Get to know what drives them:
- Why do they get out of bed every day?
- What motivates them?
- What are their aspirations?
2. Let them get to know you:
- Openly share things about yourself
- Talk about your family, dreams, hobbies, and motivations.
3. Show them the love
Even if you don’t have any formal training or access to a coach to help you in your first 90 days on the job, you can still succeed. The key is taking the time to build the foundation of trust before you delve into the business.
New sales managers who have taken the time to build trust by getting to know their salespeople and allowing their team to get to know them will have a far better chance of success in their new role as sales managers.