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Accountability, Team Building

Tips for the Field Sales Representative Turned Manager

field sales representativeAfter years of cold calling, in-store visits, and demo planning, your big day has come. Your boss has recently offered you a promotion and you’re soon to be the new regional manager. While an exciting opportunity, this new role can come with many apprehensions and concerns. The goal is to make a seamless transition and execute your new responsibilities to quickly gain the trust and respect of your team members. Here are five tips to guide you through the shift:

1. Prepare Beforehand

“Those who do not, tend to spend the first few months of their new job barely keeping themselves above water,” says Lindsay Kolowich of Insightsquared. Many companies do not offer extensive training on management. Thus, it is up to you to do your research and come prepared. Blogs like this one are a good place to start. Also try reaching out to fellow managers to see what has worked for them and what hasn’t. As we like to say here, the best offense is a good defense.

2.  Assess

Your very first task on the job is to assess your team; know who you’re working with. What are your field sales representatives’ strengths and weaknesses. Who tends to meet quota, and who struggles to? If only a small handful of representatives fulfill their quotas, is it too high? Is there a uniform procedure for sales representatives? Have they been trained properly in the past? Do they all agree upon the same vision? You may want to pay close attention to the weak links on the team. Entrepreneur contributor Beth Miller says “the sooner you deal with or eliminate the weakest link, the quicker your team’s performance will improve.”

3. Coach

Perhaps as a field sales representative, you remember the frustrations of constantly having to ask your manager questions. With handfuls of representatives that he or she managed, it was likely that it took this person some time to respond. Don’t be that manager! If you find that you’re being bombarded with questions, you are lacking one thing in your leadership: the ability to coach. Coaching is a way to provide resources to your representatives before they know they even need it. When you coach, you’re personalizing resourceful information to individual representatives and their learning styles, as well as keeping the whole team on the same page. It’s a skill that requires a high degree of emotional intelligence; something that comes with good practice. Make sure you allocate ample time to meet with representatives and coach them on matters ranging from sales metrics and KPIs to client retention tips to presentation guidelines. According to Kolowich, sales coaching increases revenue and improves forecasting accuracy.

4. Be Present

A good coach is always there for his or her team, on and off the field. Show your new team that you are always available to them by sending out frequent email updates and meeting up with team members face to face. Emails can be used to acknowledge exceptional work and to stress the consequences of poor performance as well. These emails are great for future use too, as they are a way of documenting your team’s work. By staying connected with your team, your team members know that you mean business, and that you are there for them.

5. Delegate

Up until this point, it was all about you; your quota, your clients, your numbers. Well, it’s time to turn that mentality around. While it may be tempting to take on a good portion of the responsibilities-- you already know you can do it-- your job now is to delegate. By delegating, you can focus your time on identifying patterns, strong points, weak links, and emphasizing quality control. Before delegating, make sure you have a plan. In sales, much of the preparation entails territory management. Failure to create and manage different sales territories can become a huge hindrance to your team’s performance.

As you proudly assume this managerial role, make sure you take the appropriate steps to prepare for and execute your new duties!

 

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Aya Tsuruta

Aya Tsuruta is a Content Marketing Journalist at Repsly where she covers sales and marketing content through a creative lens. In addition to writing for Repsly, she is a frequent contributor to the music blog, Indie Music Filter, and BC magazine, the Gavel.

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