The One Piece of Advice for New Sales Leaders


This post comes courtesy of Pete Kazanjy, founder of Atrium, and Modern Sales Pros where he asked for this advice for new sales leaders. 

The answer comes from another good friend, Bob Marsh. 

If you do not follow either of these people, I encourage you to do so. 

Question via Pete Kazanjy

If you could give one piece of advice to new sales leaders, what would it be? 

What should they do in their first 30 days to start making an impact? 

60 days? 90?

Answer via Bob Marsh

I am curious if you mean sales “leader” or sales “manager”? A LEADER would be the person who leads overall go-to-market strategy, and their direct reports are managers of front line sellers. A MANAGER would be someone who oversees a group of front line sellers.

For my comments below, I’m going to assume you mean “sales manager” as I think that’s probably the most important group that often is lacking in training and development.

If I were to summarize for the ONE piece of advice it would be to fully understand and embrace that their role is to deliver a revenue number, and they do this by making sure they have the right people on their team and that they constantly work to coach them to get better. There are many more things they need to learn and be good at, but that’s the primary role. 

Here’s a complete list of topics that I think are important for sales managers to develop and be great at (in no particular order). Sharing as it should be a helpful list for any managers out there to consider where they need to develop, and selfishly because I’m considering building a training/video series on these, so curious on any feedback around these topics.

  • Running Effective 1:1’s
  • Managing Your Energy
  • Managing Your Priorities
  • Building Your Personal Performance Foundation
  • Being an Industry & Company Expert
  • Managing (and minimizing) Discounting
  • Forecasting
  • Building Relationships with Clients
  • Retaining Your Competitive Fire to Win
  • Closing Deals Through Others
  • Planning Your SKO: Setting the Direction & Exec Buy-In
  • Planning Your SKO: Building Your Agenda
  • Planning Your SKO: Venue, Material, Speakers, Content
  • Planning Your SKO: Details Matter
  • Planning Your SKO: Event Time (managing your energy on-site)
  • Holding People Accountable
  • Always Be Recruiting (even if you don’t have an open position)
  • Determining Who’s Promotable
  • Managing Layoffs
  • The Importance of Staying Calm
  • Dealing with a Struggling Employee
  • When to Use Recruiters
  • How to Let Someone Go
  • Communicating Departures (resignations or involuntary releases)
  • Command of Your Sales Metrics
  • When Someone Resigns (including a tip to save them)
  • Monitoring For and Managing Burnout
  • Building Your Sales Metrics: The Why
  • Building Your Sales Metrics: Team Session and Workbook
  • Building Your Sales Metrics: Ongoing Management
  • Win/Loss Analysis
  • Tips for a First Time Manager
  • Interviewing for Sales Acumen
  • How to Coach in a Client Meeting (without taking over)
  • Running a Sales Team Meeting

We really appreciate Bob sharing their wisdom with the community. 

Anything missing? Let’s talk.

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