The head of sales is responsible for managing people and goals within companies. He is the one who is side by side with his team, motivates, trains and analyzes numbers to improve the process even more. When someone is promoted to head of sales, you need to take some actions to start off on the right foot.
Your efforts have been rewarded! You have proven yourself capable. He always hit his goal, contributed to improving the process and today he can manage his own sales team.
At first, the excitement and your previous knowledge seem to be sufficient to face the mission, right?
Manage people, set the goal, be in direct contact with the directors, think strategically at all times …
However, it will take a few seconds to realize that the management you are about to do is quite different than just managing yourself.
So, where should you start?
Today’s text helps those who have just been elevated to the position of head of sales to make a smooth transition in relation to the position they had previously held.
We will talk about routine, people management, goals, tools, training and everything that will help you succeed on a daily basis.
Stay with us and check it out.
How to be a good sales head? Change your mindset
While this is an exciting and important time for you, it is also a time of change for salespeople.
Adjusting to a new head of sales can be difficult, especially if your predecessor was a popular person within the company.
If you have been promoted to the position within your company, you may encounter some resistance (jealousy and even hostility may be common) on the part of your former colleagues in the sales industry.
Whether in the company you were in or a new one, you will need to find a way to gain the trust of the team.
To be able to follow the relevant indicators that the position requires. And to give everyone the conditions to achieve goals and objectives defined by you.
That is why changing the minsdset is so important: it is time to be analytical and strategic at all times.
To be present, to manage closely and to be in tune with the sales team.
What do they need to be able to sell more and better? How should their training be? How will relevant sales metrics be monitored?
All of this is analytical and strategic thinking. And it all goes through the head of sales, okay?
7 Ways to Transition from Salesperson to Head of Sales
A good sales head – already anticipating some topics to follow – needs to be concerned with certain indispensable aspects.
Chief among them, in any leadership position, is people management.
As much as you have the right tools and good training, it will not have any real impact if you fail to motivate your salespeople.
So, without motivated people, in order to do more, this part gets complicated, doesn’t it?
Therefore, we have separated 7 actions for you, head of sales, to make the transition and achieve, from the beginning, success in your new mission.
1 – Understand immediately your new role in the company
Before starting to lead your team to create new businesses, make sure you have a complete understanding of the expectations that come with the head of sales function.
More than that: why did the company exactly need you to be in this position?
That is, keep in mind the reason for your hiring or promotion.
- was hired to replace a sales head with poor sales performance?
- is taking the place of someone with a good performance but who left the company?
- What improvements does the board expect you to implement in the sector?
- improve salespeople who perform poorly? Or just exchange them?
The goal is to make the transition clear and smooth so that you start your new role well.
Check in regularly with the company’s CSO. This will help, at least in the beginning, to have a better idea of the reasons for your hiring.
So, don’t be afraid whenever you feel the need, request a meeting with the sales director to be able to align expectations.
2 – Talk to everyone individually
It can be difficult to lead an entirely new team when you are still trying to memorize everyone’s name and position. This, of course, if you are new to the company.
However, no matter the size of your sales team: you must do your best to get to know each member.
Find out what they believe in each person’s strengths and weaknesses and their personal and professional goals.
You are a facilitator for people to achieve what they want – remember that.
Now you hold a management position and command someone who used to be your colleague. Which was hierarchically the same.
What did the team think of the change?
This is a question that needs to be asked of everyone – and if it is individually it is better to get more accurate feedback.
The transition process is much easier when your team is as sincere as possible.
As you are taking over someone else’s position, ask the team what they liked about their predecessor’s leadership style. And what he left behind.
A simple question may suffice for each of your team:
- “If you were the head of sales, what changes would you make?”
This will not only make your team think of collective and individual improvements, it will show that you want everyone to be strategically involved.
It is important to keep them motivated, feeling part of the whole.
Also, discuss point-to-point about what works and what doesn’t in the current sales process.
Make it clear that you are there to help. To make the sales routine better. To make it easier for everyone to reach their goals.
Listen. Understand. Analyze. Changes can be scary at first, so it is important to pass security on to your men.
3 – Set realistic goals and expectations – for you and the team
To do this, you can start by answering a few questions – always aligning the answers with the board.
- What do you want to achieve in your first quarter as the company’s head of sales?
- What are, in order of importance, your priorities?
- How many sales (in quantity and / or value) need to be achieved in the period?
Make a list and share the goals with the team. Inform them that they can (and should) also hold you accountable in the mission.
You also need to have ongoing conversations with the team about your expectations of them.
Talk about collective and also individual goals. It is time to be clear and directly communicate exactly what is expected of each one.
Goal setting does not have to be a 100% vertical exercise – although the final word is yours.
Encourage team members to create their own individual goals. You can apply the SMART goal method at this point.
Ask them to stipulate a number that they feel comfortable with, and if they match what you thought, validate them.
4 – Make management based on numbers
A good head of sales is – and always will be – concerned with numbers. Performance indicators are your best friends.
Sales metrics speak volumes about the business. About the quality of the process and the activities carried out in the sales area.
Therefore, it is important to be aware of conversion rates in each of the stages of the funnel, be it pre-sales or sales, for example.
Is the business closing rate below, beyond or within the normal for the segment?
Without the right indicators, you will not be able to identify bottlenecks in the process.
You won’t know why you sell well or why you sell poorly – and that is very bad.
Understand which fees are relevant. Consume a benchmark for your area and constantly improve the process.
5 – Have the right tools
To be able to have rates and metrics for your business, the first step is to have technology within the processes.
This means: the company must have undergone digital transformation in the sales sector.
The use of tools such as CRM and marketing automation platform are essential.
The first brings the generated director leads to the CRM integrated to it, which makes it easier to deal with each opportunity.
The second, on the other hand, has the relevant metrics and rates that we mentioned earlier and guarantees a much higher productivity for your team.
The functionality of a CRM means that your team needs to perform fewer tasks to sell more.
The choice of this tool is extremely important and must meet the reduction of CAC and the sales cycle.
6 – Build team unity
Whether you are getting to know your new team or moving up the ranks, it is essential to build the unity of your team.
A unified team is a prerequisite for success. Therefore, it is important that both you and your salespeople feel comfortable with each other.
For that, activities outside the office can be a good way for you to get to know each other better. How about a happy hour?
Team lunches once a week are great ways to start strengthening ties.
These are great ways to “break the ice” from that almost mechanical and extremely formal relationship.
It also shows that you will always be there for them – available, ready to listen and improve.
The individual conversation we mentioned earlier is critical to understanding how each salesperson works.
Some need to be stimulated all the time, others have greater capacity for self-management.
Different information is obtained in different contexts. You will not know everything you need inside the office.
That is why these moments are important, to understand the essence of each one and how you can make the best of everyone – collectively and individually.
7 – Make good sales meetings
The sales meeting cannot be an unpleasant, bad or tense time for anyone.
That is to say: your salespeople cannot think that whenever you meet it is to talk about problems.
For that reason, tip: stipulate a fixed day in the week for a larger meeting. And, in the mornings, every day, at the beginning of the journey, 15 minutes to talk about the previous day.
The meeting is the time to analyze the numbers for the week, talk about what was positive and what was not, interpret the numbers and propose improvements for the next 7 days.
Everyone must participate and engage. To do this, guide each one to focus on a specific report: give this mission to each member.
Thus, they feel part of the whole: they contribute with actions and also with ideas.
If this happens, your process will only improve and sales, of course, will grow.
So, how can we help you?
If you have any questions about the article or want to talk about your challenges as a head of sales, talk to a consultant whenever you want.
Enjoy and read two articles that will help you manage sales on a daily basis.
The first one talks about how the motivation of your sales team goes through your CRM.
The second, on the other hand, speaks of the importance of having a successful mentality when it comes to running a commercial team.
A hug from CWT, your CRM. #RunCWT