3 Strategies for transitioning from salesperson to sales manager

This may be one of the biggest challenges in the life cycle of your sales career. Especially if the
transition is within the same company. Going from being peers with the sales staff you work
next to into becoming their leader is not for the faint at heart. Whether it is within the same
company or moving to a new one it will require sacrifice, hard conversations, and most of all an
extreme level of confidence in yourself.

There are a lot of different mind sets on how to approach this from attempting to be friends
with everyone to tyrant and everything in the middle, but from my experience these 3 tips will
make the transition smoother! Trust me I have found a bunch of ways to not do this through
trial and error!

1.   As fast as humanly possible have an all hands meeting to introduce yourself and set
expectations for what they should expect from you and what you are going to expect
from them. There is going to be a lot of speculation amongst the group as to how you
are going to be as a leader so setting the table early for everyone together allows them
all to get the same message the same way and aligns the group as a team. This meeting
should be for any of your direct reports as well as anyone else that supports that team.
Be clear, fair, transparent, and vulnerable here. Give them some insight into your own
fears and concerns of the new position so they know you are a real person and not a
know it all.

2.   Set one on one meetings with each of your team members. You need to understand the
Strengths and weaknesses of everyone so you can properly align your efforts toward
improving their strengths and avoiding their weakness. Make sure to ask them how
they like/want to be led. This is a question many leaders miss, and it is one of the most
powerful pieces of information you can get early in the process to avoid butting heads
later on due to miss communication and personality conflicts. You may be surprised on
some of the answers you get but the more clarity you have on how they want to be
communicated with the better and quicker your success as a leader will be.

3.   Have a clear 30-60-90 day plan that you share with everyone. This is more important for
you than it is for them. It is easy to jump in and try to solve every problem, go after new
accounts with your team, make major changes to show your leadership they made the
right decision choosing you. The first 90 days is crucial in getting the buy in from your
team on your initiatives and you getting a good handle on the personalities you are
dealing with. Try to do more research of your organization than process improvements
so you have a better picture of what you are working with. If you implement changes
too quickly you may lose momentum and set yourself up for a no-win situation. If you
take the time to learn your environment and who is in it, you can properly place people
in the right position to bring everyone success.

There are plenty of other things that can and will be done but these 3 are very important from
my experience. Focus on being a servant leader and giving your employees what they need to
be successful. In your life as an individual contributor you worked for your clients and did what
was necessary to make them successful transactions. Leadership is no different just your clients
are now your employees and it’s your job every day to service them to your best ability.