Congratulations, you've just been promoted. Now what?
You've been working really hard and have consistently exceeded your targets. Your effort has been recognised and you've just been promoted to a managerial position. While this is great news, becoming a manager overnight is not without its challenges.
You're a member of the sales team one day but the next, you're managing the same people who were your peers only yesterday. Initially, this transition can be difficult as you will immediately have to deal with the resentment some former colleagues may have as a result of missing out on this opportunity.
When you land that promotion, you will feel an immediate urge to jump into the role with gusto and have an instant impact. Often however, the new manager will feel uncomfortable and reticent about asking questions at such an early stage in their promotion. This is arguably one of the key reasons why new managers initially struggle to succeed. Fundamentally, they believe that because they have been promoted, they should have all the answers. Nobody has all the answers!
How much of your old job are you still doing as Sales Manager?
A lot of the time the answer is 'all of it'. There tends to be an expectation from your employer that you will continue to excel in your sales role while taking on a whole new set of responsibilities and tasks.
Specifically in a dealership environment, it is often the top performing salesperson who ultimately will put themselves in the best possible position when it comes to promotional opportunities. It is clear that top performing Sales Executives have a driving ambition not only to continue achieving high targets but also embracing new levels of responsibility in the role.
There is also an assumption among some Dealer Principals that because you are a great salesperson, you'll naturally make a great Sales Manager. This assumption is often reached despite no direct evidence of management capability or the lack of any managerial training provided.
What are your new targets?
In speaking with newly appointed Sales Managers, arguably their greatest concern is how they are going to achieve a balance between maintaining their position as top performing salespeople within the dealership whilst establishing the required level of credibility as a manager whose core function is to motivate and drive a sales team. A key step in this transition that is often overlooked is the requirement for a detailed meeting between the newly appointed Sales Manager and his/her Dealer Principal. Both parties should leave this meeting crystal clear as to what the dealership's expectations are in terms of the management of the team versus individual sales performance. A new job specification should be developed at this point which clearly sets out the performance criteria of the role along with a robust communication to the business which will set the tone for the appointment.
Without these specific clear guidelines being agreed upon, new Sales Managers are sometimes destined to fail as their idea as to how the sales team should develop in comparison with the views of either their colleagues and/or Dealer Principal can sometimes vary widely. This can ultimately lead to confusion within the business as to where the lines of responsibility are drawn and can cause great stress for all parties.
How will you manage your time?
Arguably the most valuable commodity available to the modern sales professional in an Irish car dealership is time. With the demands of Saturday working and a requirement to engage with customers and suppliers outside of working hours, it is becoming increasingly difficult for sales professionals within the industry to manage their time.
From a recruitment perspective, the issue of time is the key fundamental issue when it comes to attracting talented individuals from outside the industry. It is also unfortunately one of the key drivers among those who have decided to leave the sales profession in the last couple of years. For those individuals who wish to stay in the industry but retain a decent level of work-life balance, there is a significant desire amongst many salespeople on the retail side of the business to pursue a Monday to Friday role with one of the vehicle distributors.
For us in Start Monday, the issue of time and annual leave specifically is a burning issue in the industry. In comparison with many other sectors, consideration given to issues such as flexi-time, unpaid annual leave, late starts/early finishes for Sales Executives seems to be almost taboo. Ultimately, the dealership groups who grapple with this problem and put in place flexible working arrangements will benefit greatly as they will become employers of choice who will attract the most talented people within our industry and in turn, generate significant increases in shareholder value for the business as a whole.