In our first installment of our “So, you’re a new sales leader” series, we shared 8 tips for getting a strong start. In this second installment, we’re sharing perspectives on 3 of those tips from some of our esteemed colleagues.
Understand what works.
First, focus on understanding what’s already successful. It’s tempting to look for nails to hit with our hammers, but recognizing and maintaining what’s already working is often even more important.
Change is hard and throwing the baby out with the bathwater is… well, not good for the baby.
Laurie Schrager: “Figure out what’s working well. Who are your best reps? Watch & learn from them. Are there customers who love the product? Meet with them and learn their stories. If you are brought in as a change agent, it’s easy to focus on what isn’t working. But it’s just as important to understand what is working – that’s your foundation.”
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
By now you are probably familiar with this old African proverb. However, when we are promoted into a new role, it’s easy to feel like you have to strap on a cape and come to the rescue in every situation.
Laurie Schrager: “Don’t try to fix it yourself! As a leader, your job is not to always do the work yourself. It’s an easy tendency, since you were probably a high performer yourself. As a leader, it’s critical to bring the team along for the journey – and change will always be driven as a team.”
Alicia Eimers: “Spend time with other leaders, it’s very important to understand who can be your partner.”
Kyle Hall: “It is easy to become a full-time firefighter.”
It’s not about you anymore.
This sounds obvious, but it’s often the hardest shift to make.
Dan Schoepf: “As a solo producer, you were only responsible for your own wins and losses. As a leader, you’re responsible for everyone’s. Learning how to win through others can be challenging for new leaders.”
Jonathan Bowman: “Shift the focus from what you want to get out of it to what value can you bring whether it be internal or external. Focus on understanding what’s in it for them – create a vision match.”
My own advice: Get real comfortable taking less credit for the wins and more ownership of the losses. This doesn’t absolve our needing to hold our teams accountable to a set of clear standards, but they are the actors now and you are the director. Martin Scorsese has never accepted an award for best actor. Figuring out how to set up everyone else for success is one of our most important responsibilities.