Sunday, May 27, 2007

Setting Expectations for Your New Sales Team

Setting Expectations for Your New Sales Team

When taking on a new sales team or inheriting an existing one, it is important to set expectations immediately upon taking on your new assignment. As a sales manager, your sales people need to know that you are going to be a good leader, and a good leader takes command right away.

In setting expectations for your team, there are two approaches you must take. First, you must meet with your team as a group and let them know that your expectations are of them as a team. It is critical that each person hears what you have to say together so there is no misinterpretation of what you say. Make sure you also put your expectations in writing so the sales representatives have something to take away with them.

Secondly, you will need to meet with them individually to discuss individual expectations. This is a great time to get to know them better as individuals, so a meeting outside the office is usually best. Take them to breakfast or lunch so you are both in a neutral area and can avoid typical office distractions such as the phone or unexpected visitors.

Next, to set expectations for your team that work well, it is just as important that you ask them what they expect of you as their new manager. Both in a team setting as well as in an individual setting, it is important that they have the opportunity to share what they expect of you. It is critical that you take the time to listen. In listening to them, you will learn a lot about their personalities and about past bad experiences they may have had with previous managers. In listening to them, you will also become a better leader.

Overall, remember that expectations go both ways. Setting expectations for your sales team and learning their expectations of you within the first 2 weeks of taking on a new sales leadership assignment is critical to your success as a sales manager.