If Sales Training budgets are diminishing, then Training for Sales Leadership is even further evaporating down the priority list. As the trend continues to hire “Just Add Water” Sales Leaders [domain expertise, worked for larger brands, and other things that don’t actually work], then the corresponding consequence is to rationalize less training for leaders because they are already good to go. Right?

I go back to the first Management Training that I was privileged to go through and a critical take away from the workshop was a concept of the leaders role with new sales staff. Regardless of whether your new staff is VP level and an entry-level sales person, the responsibility of the leader is helping to Manage the expectations and experiences of all their first experiences. These experiences set the tone for the relationship.

A simple but powerful set of concepts that has hung with me for 20+ years. Let me pass it along and add some further things from from my journey that can become part of your Sales Management Operating System:

The First Day: What is your expectation of the first day, regardless of your title? Do people expect you and are they ready to receive you? Laptop? Onboarding session? Lunch with boss? Agenda for the week? What did you tell your new hire tell their spouse about the first day of work? Were they pumped up or disappointed?

The First One-On-One: As a leader, you are setting the tone and expectations of how you will work together and mutual expectations of how this critical monthly interaction will work.

The First Win: This is about celebration, acknowledgement and the reinforcement of the positives.

The First Loss: Support, lessons learned and coaching. No blame, just an opportunity.

The First Tough Month: It will happen early and to everyone. Our job is to read the signals, support and provide the appropriate leadership and coaching.

The First Big Opportunity: It is meaningful for all parties, it is different and should be treated as such. Gather the team. Support, apply process and tools. Win or at the very least, LEARN.

The First Internal Conflict: In many cultures, the Lone wolf is trying to figure their way through the maze and to do what is required to be successful. There will be conflict. Help them through the maze and use it as both a leadership and coaching opportunity.

The First Business Plan: This is a big one regardless of the role. Do they get the expectation? Do they understand? The reality of the exercise is whether you have the confidence to invest in their business.

The First Performance Review: This is linked to both the 1-on-1 cycle and the Business Plans. Performance Reviews should have no surprises given the other conversations we have more frequently. It does provide the opportunity to clearly document and discuss the positives plus the opportunity areas.

The First Ad Hoc Coaching: The knock at the door is coming early and often. “Hey boss, I have an issue I would like to discuss.” The natural temptation is to “Tell” versus “Ask”. That is the material difference between Managing and Coaching. It makes you feel good because you solved a problem quickly. Never miss an opportunity to coach.

-The First …..

Add to the conversation and provide your guidance based on your personal experiences, successes and the others on your scorecard [golf term for a big number]…



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Strategy Is All About Revenue