How to get results on Day 1

How to get results on Day 1

You’ve just been promoted to Head of Sales and you want to make a good impression and get results fast. How?

As part of the Superhero Sales Manager programme, one of my clients has recently got the promotion he was looking for and now has a sales team to manage for the first time. He asked me what he should do first to make the best impression.  I told him to focus on the 3 most important groups of people.

 1.Your managers

Your Senior manager(s) are going to be judging how well you are doing at the end of the day and the value that you bring to the organisation. So it is worth spending time right at the beginning clarifying expectations and goals.

Not having clarity in your new role can hold back your progress. For example, I’ve had sales managers focused so much on delivering VOLUME of sales that they’ve discounted, given special offers to their customers  so the actual VALUE of the sales and therefore the profit actually dropped rather than increased. Make sure you are focusing on the right measurables and Key Indicators.

Insist on a clear job description, transparent goals, incentives and sales targets. So the company’s expectations of you are clear. Check your understanding of them by asking questions. There is nothing worse than putting your efforts into achieving a goal only to find you have misunderstood it and wasted your time and resources at the end of the quarter or even at the end of the year!

2. Your team

You are not going to deliver any results without your team

Find out what motivates each member of their team (it might not just be money; they may love travelling, working alone or a particular job title).

Speak to each member of the team individually . Find out what suggestions they have for improving sales, customer relations, marketing, etc. Find out what they love most and least about their jobs. This team meets the clients more often than anyone else in the company so getting feedback from the Sales Team is nearly as important as getting it from the clients themselves. At this stage your job is to listen. They will feel good about being listened to and even better if you agree and can do something about it.  It sets the stage for them coming to you with ideas and suggestions in the future.

By really listening you may find that something as simple as having  a kettle and tea/coffee making facilities within the department could boost morale, save time out of the office and improve productivity . You are not going to please everyone all the time but some decisions may be a no-brainer, perhaps no-one has actually listened and actioned it before.

3. Your clients

Use the Pareto Principle (which states that 80% of results come from 20% of effort) – learn where to put your effort. It’s crucial that you look at your most important clients. They are probably bringing in 80% of the sales. Make sure you are aware of who they are and what more can be done for them. Create a plan aimed at improving results from your key clients (encourage your Sales Team to help you in this).

Use the news of your new appointment to connect with your client base as a whole – send an introduction letter stating which products and services you are delighted to be working on, invite them to contact you with any ideas or issues they have about your products or service.  Really make the most of the “new broom sweeping through” idea so you can draw a line under any problems in the past.

This is what I said.  What would you advise?  Is there anything there you could implement now, even if you have been in the job for a while?

If you have any questions about Sales Management, send me an email or post your question on my new Facebook page Superhero Sales Manager and they will be answered every Thursday.


To make the most of your first 7 days as a Sales Manager – download the free Induction Kit “Superhero Sales Manager in 7 days” – fill in the box on the home page.

Personal vision of a Sales Manager: Be Proactive!

Personal vision of a Sales Manager: Be Proactive!

When I first became a sales manager, the book that gave me the support, tools and inspiration I needed was Stephen Covey’s “The 7 habits of highly effective people”.  The 7 great principles he taught enabled me to have confidence, manage my time, and achieve a lot which led to me gaining promotion or a new job every year of my career.

Sadly Stephen Covey passed away this week but his books and ideas will live on for generations to come. His ideas influenced a lot of my book “Superhero Sales Manager” with multiple responsibilities, tasks and goals to answer to.

As a personal tribute to Stephen Covey I will apply his 7 habits to today’s Sales Manager, starting with his first one: Be proactive.  To Covey being proactive means more than just taking initiative, although that is a strength in itself. To him it means that we take responsibility for our own lives. We no longer blame our circumstances or other people but we choose our response (response-ability) consciously based on our own values above our feelings.   It’s being a grown up.

Reactive people are affected by the weather, by someone else’s moods, by the reaction of one phone call.  Proactive people carry their own weather. They are value driven so if their value is to produce good quality work, it’s not relevant whether the weather is conducive or not, they’ll do it anyway.

It is a source of personal power that others can’t take away, to choose your response to any given situation and make it a positive proactive one.  As a Sales Manager years ago, this gave me a lot of confidence to take decisions. I didn’t worry what others would think or wait and see what decisions others would make. I would look at a situation, whether it was poorly performing staff member, recruiting a new team member or distribution partner, decision whether to exhibit or not and base that decision on what was right for the business with the information I had.  This meant I could make quick decisions. And as they were based on values, not emotions they were decisions I couldlive with and make work no matter what the consequences.

Today’s business is full of the fear of taking risks, of doing the wrong thing because the focus is often on revenue and profit rather than Values and taking responsibility for making proactive decisions based on those values.

When I work with my clients at all Executive levels one of our first sessions together is exploring, clarifying and highlighting their values as they are sometimes buried beneath years of following orders, being seen to do the right thing.

What are your personal values in the work you do?  What can you do today to make sure that the decisions you take are based on those values?

Next week: 2. Begin with the end in mind


3 key principles of Superhero Sales Management

3 key principles of Superhero Sales Management

You’ve finally found the right Sales Manager for the role. Relief! Or is it?   How are you going to get them up to speed quickly so you get on with doing what you do best?

  • Send them on a training programme?
  • Carve out time from your already crammed diary to mentor them?
  • Show them their desk, give them their work and let them get on with it, after all you recruited them for their knowledge and expertise, right?

Would you do things differently if you knew that 40% to 50% of senior appointments fail to achieve the desired results due to lack of training, support, coaching or mentoring.

Too often we assume that the job change is a natural one but what often happens next is your Salesperson finds it a lot harder than they had expected, they keep quiet and hide their failures as they are used to being successful and feel the pressure of those expectations. The sales team around them aren’t fooled and become de-motivated and sometimes leave. So you have not only lost your best Salesperson (who no longer has the time to pull in the sales they did before) but you have a demotivated Sales team, spiralling recruitment costs and poor sales.

The 3 principles I see working best to ensure your Sales Manager is giving value to the company i.e. a Superhero Sales Manager, are:

  1. The Superhero Sales Manager Identity– a fast track coaching and mentoring solution which tackles those issues of a new mental attitude including:
    1. As a manager, not a salesperson,
    2. working on behalf of a team, not solo
    3. being pro-active and showing initiative
    4. seeing themselves as a leader

Often it takes a good Salesperson 6 to 18 months (sometimes more) to reach their potential as a Sales Manager because they have not made that mental transition. Without support at the early stages it could take a long time for them to get into their stride and identify their management style.

  1. The Superhero Sales Manager Powers and Skills.  This is the area covered by more traditional Sales Management courses and is an essential part of any transition from Salesperson to Sales Manager. These include communication and presentation skills, motivating staff, controlling and commanding the sales, marketing and customer service process.
  2. The Superhero Success Story.  Getting quick wins makes your new Sales Manager feel great about themselves and their new role.   Often that doesn’t happen for months so any training that focuses on early success, planning and prioritising critical success factors and building them into a timetable of intensive training and coaching pays dividends. Not just for building up the confidence of your new Sales Manger quickly but that of their Sales team around them, confidence in them from Senior Management and sales results your whole organisation can benefit from.

What do you think?  If you are a Director concerned about your company’s performance and don’t have the time to deliver this yourself, give this some thought (and give us a ring!)



Value your managers – or you could lose 65% of your staff

Value your managers or you could lose 65% of your staff!

In today’s Sunday Times Best Companies list the one key element that is highlighted as the most directly correlated to success is good management. This is closely followed by good leadership so if you get both right you are not only going to be financially successful but have a motivated and inspired work force too.

Some of the highlights of the report:
•Malcolm Walker of Iceland, winner of the Best Big Company to work for 2012, says that the difference in sales for the company with a motivated manager versus a demotivated manager can be at least 20%.
•The coverage of the award states that the Best Companies featured in the list have a higher number of good mangers that encourage the personal development of their team as well as absorb the pressures from above.
•It goes on to say that 65% of staff who have a manager who does not listen to them or share information would leave tomorrow if they were offered another job.
•Where employees feel their manager doesn’t listen to them, 77% feel their company is taking advantage of them and are not motivated.

Couple this with the results of the survey released last week by the Chartered Management Institute which states that nearly half of UK managers are viewed as “ineffective” by their staff. The survey* proves that organisational performance and management abilities are clearly linked with 39% of managers in low performing businesses deeming their line managers to be effective, compared to 80% in high performing organisations.

So what does all this tell us? That in a difficult economic climate, the way forward for improving revenue is to make sure your managers are fully trained, fully aware of their importance on their staff as well as on the company results and that the importance of good management cannot be underestimated.

Are we asking too much of our managers? Can we expect them to be Superheroes?

Superhero managers need at least these 3 things
1.The right mindset that they are there for the team; to listen to them, encourage them and take responsibility for them
2.Great communication skills to manage upwards, downwards and sideways so that everyone is well informed and able to do their job to their best ability.
3.Great organisational skills to deploy the right resources at the right time to be effective as well as efficient.

I have developed a programme for discovering and uncovering Superhero Sales Managers as I believe the future of UK companies’ success lies here. If you are interested in an induction programme that will save you time and effort getting a new manager up to speed and may make at least 20% difference to your bottom line and save up to 65% of your sales force leaving in just 7 days please go to

*The CMI-Penna report, produced with Henley Business School, draws on findings from almost 4,500 managers, including over 300 CEOs and 550 HR managers.

Related articles
•Ineffective management ‘costs country £19bn’ (
•Half of UK bosses are “ineffective” (
•Skills shortages are chief concern for managers (
•’Half managers say bosses are ineffective’ says Chartered Management Institute (