How to Succeed as a First-Time Sales Manager

by | 2 minute read

Jen­nifer Gluck­ow, founder of Sales in A New York Minute, knows a thing or two about sales. She’s also a first-rate man­ag­er with plen­ty of street cred. When she was placed in a sales man­age­ment posi­tion, she quick­ly learned how to moti­vate her reps. Here’s what she shared with us about young and first-time man­agers in her recent Man­age Smarter pod­cast.

Immediate Feedback

It’s always great when your younger reps make a sale. But, they need you most when the sale doesn’t hap­pen. When you, and they, are first start­ing out, make sure they dis­cuss their dis­ap­point­ments with you. These ses­sions allow you to point out what they could have said or done dif­fer­ent­ly. The dis­cus­sions also give you a chance to boost their ego, so they don’t get lost in neg­a­tiv­i­ty.

Mind the Age Gap

Long ago, pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Dan Quayle ques­tioned the suit­abil­i­ty of his oppo­nent, Ronald Rea­gan, based on age. Rea­gan scored huge points, and went on to win re-election, after he famous­ly turned around the chal­lenge by say­ing, “I am not going to exploit for polit­i­cal pur­pos­es, my opponent's youth and inex­pe­ri­ence." If you’re much younger than the team mem­bers you’re super­vis­ing, be pre­pared to feel some heat. “They’ll seem nice and friend­ly, but they’re total­ly judg­ing you,” remem­bers Gluck­ow, who was in the sit­u­a­tion of super­vis­ing much old­er sales reps. You don’t have to form deep per­son­al friend­ships with your team mem­bers. You just need to get them to do their best. To earn their respect, and coop­er­a­tion, Gluck­ow quizzed her team mem­bers on what mat­tered to them about the job. Once she tapped into their emo­tion­al con­nec­tion to the job, it was eas­i­er to con­vince them to work with her and make quo­ta.

Make a List

Most sales man­agers have been reps. They’ve suf­fered under man­agers who were rude. Or, they’ve put up with con­stant­ly being hand­ed the worst assign­ments. Or, they’ve had to fig­ure out how to suc­ceed on their own, because their man­ag­er couldn’t be both­ered train­ing them. You don’t have to be that kind of man­ag­er. Gluck­ow made a list when she first start­ed man­ag­ing peo­ple. She wrote down the traits of the best man­agers she had and made sure she emu­lat­ed them.

If you want to start your man­age­ment career on the right path, con­sid­er doing the same.

C. Lee Smith

C. Lee Smith

CEO and Founder at Sales­Fu­el
C. Lee Smith is the President/CEO of Sales­Fu­el — a firm he found­ed in 1989. He was named one of the 14 Lead­ing Sales Con­sul­tants by Sell­ing Pow­er mag­a­zine in 2018. Lee is the cre­ator of the AdMall® and Sales­Fu­el COACH™ SaaS plat­forms. He is also a Git­o­mer Cer­ti­fied Advi­sor, expert on the Sales Experts Chan­nel and a C‑Suite Net­work Advi­sor.
C. Lee Smith


@SalesFuel CEO C. Lee Smith. Speak­er, entre­pre­neur, sales and employ­ee tox­i­c­i­ty expert, lead­er­ship and man­age­ment con­sul­tant. Co-host, Man­age Smarter pod­cast.
Are you the vic­tim of a #tox­i­c­work­place, or are you con­tribut­ing to it? Here are some ways you can stop engag­ing… — 2 days ago
C. Lee Smith