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5 Rookie Mistakes New Sales Managers Should Avoid

Sales Managers, Beware the Numbers Trap

Becoming a successful sales manager is not a process that unfolds overnight. Top sales managers earn their stripes by taking strategic steps to combat the sales challenges that face them every day. During their formative years in their new role, they resist the urge to become rigid enforcers of a one-size-fits-all approach. Most important, they rise to the top by learning from the mistakes of their colleagues. Below are five rookie mistakes and the strategies new sales managers can take to avoid them.

Rookie Mistake #1: Micromanaging sales representatives. While some sales representatives may initially require a high level of guidance and support from their managers, veteran sales representatives often function very well independently with support as needed from their managers. Micromanaging seasoned sales representatives and top performers is a tragic flaw that can send your most talented sales experts running for the hills. 

Prevention Strategy: View yourself as a sales coach rather than a hall monitor. Resist the urge to monitor every move of your sales representatives. Instead, focus your energies on developing the skills of your team through effective coaching sessions.

Rookie Mistake #2: Being a know-it-all. Sometimes new sales managers can be condescending or arrogant in their interactions with sales representatives. Others can ward people off with their bureaucratic style of leadership. Exhibiting this type of leadership style is detrimental to a team’s functioning and can dampen the spirits of sales representatives. 

Prevention Strategy: Strive to empower your sales representatives. Avoid the “My way or the highway” approach in favor of a supportive approach. Give them the tools to help them make their own decisions so they can grow and prosper.

Rookie Mistake #3: Talking too much. It is nearly impossible to engage team members when a new sales manager spends 90% of every sales meeting in a rambling monologue. Additionally, it is impossible to understand the needs of team members when there is no two-way communication during meetings. Rookie sales managers who fail to listen to their teams miss out on valuable feedback that could foster sales growth. 

Prevention Strategy: Brush up on your active listening skills. Resist the urge to dominate the conversation during sales meetings and encourage open communication between members of your team.

Rookie Mistake #4: Using a cookie cutter approach with sales representatives. Every sales representative is different and is motivated by a unique collection of variables. Managers who make the mistake of using the same training and coaching techniques with every sales representative run the risk of isolating members of their team. 

Prevention Strategy: Get to know each sales representative on your team. Managers should take the time to get to know the strengths and weaknesses of everyone on their team, paying special attention to differences in motivations and desires.

Rookie Mistake #5: Spending too much time behind closed doors. New sales managers often have difficulty adjusting to the competing demands for their time. Trying to balance management meetings, budget planning, and conference calls while motivating a sales team can lead some sales managers to hide away in their offices. 

Prevention Strategy: Establish an open-door policy. By making accessibility one of your top goals, you can help make sure that sales representatives feel comfortable coming to you for the guidance and support that they need.

Remember the Big Picture as You Lead Your Sales Team
The best way to ensure that you do not make common rookie mistakes as a sales manager is to always keep the big picture in mind. Remembering the key strategies outlined above will help you establish yourself as a trusted leader for your sales team. Displaying empathy, openness, active listening skills, and an empowering approach will help you develop the champion caliber sales team that will take your company to the next level of success.