Or, how to survive your first year in sales
OK, you got hired. You are now working for a new company in a sales position. Maybe it’s your first sales job or your third one. Regardless of how many sales jobs you have had or how long you have been working in sales, what should you look for when you start out in a new sales position? During your first couple of weeks, you should begin to figure out if you made the right decision, or if you should start sending out your resume again.
1). A Clear Agenda -
Has your sales manager presented you with a written clear agenda for the next couple of weeks? The plan should include what you should learn, e.g., a new CRM, product lines, company policies, and procedures? Has he mapped out specific days or times for you on the agenda? Or, is your sales manager working off the seat of his pants and just winging it? If the answer is the latter, then you may have a problem. Try to request something in writing so that you have a good understanding of your job, especially your goals for the next couple of weeks — if not longer.
2). Your Co-workers -
Are your colleagues friendly or are some giving you the evil eye? Are they treating you as a fellow professional, or are they bringing out the long knives to stab you in the back? Don’t just listen to what they say — watch the body language. Are they giving you eye contact or avoiding you when you speak? Are they giving you the cold shoulder? Are they quickly answering your questions before they jump on the phone?
3). Compensation Package -
While you may have been given the broad strokes during your interview about what your total compensation will be, or expected to be, now that you are hired, do you have a written compensation package? If it’s down in writing, is it easy to understand or do you need to be a mathematician to figure it out? If you have trouble understanding your compensation package, speak up early or you may regret it later when you are not being paid as much as you thought.
4). Office Space -
Are you working in an area that allows you to sell, or are always being interrupted and distracted? While open offices or spaces appear to be the prevailing norm these days, you still need to concentrate and adequately function to hit your numbers. (Please see my post on Open Space Offices — Good or Bad Idea?)
5). Support -
Are you getting support from your co-workers and administrative staff? Or is everyone giving you the brush off or the bums rush?
6). Your Sales Manager -
Is he accessible during your first couple of weeks, or is his office door closed continuously? Is he taking the time to coach you and meet with you on a regular basis during that first couple of critical weeks? Has he taken you out to lunch as a friendly gesture to get to know you better? Has he introduced you to the rest of the sales team and other key employees? Does he care if you succeed or are you just a meal ticket to him?
7). Mentor -
Has your sales manager appointed a senior salesperson — a mentor — to be available to help you? Let’s face it, sales managers can be very busy at times, so it’s always helpful to have someone else around to work with you to smooth out the rough edges until you are solidly on your feet. (Please see my post on In Sales, Should you use a Mentor?)
8) Morale -
Are people excited and eager to come to work, or are they continually gossiping and bitching about their jobs or the company? If it’s the latter, don’t get drawn into all the drama. I’m old school — drama should belong in the theater, not in the workplace. If you find yourself dealing with too many drama queens and kings, avoid them like the plague. Instead, stay focused, hunker down, and work. Sooner or later, people will get the message that you are a serious player who wants to make money.
9). Marketing -
Is the marketing department helping the sales team by providing good leads and prospects? Are they working to enhance your company’s brand name and recognition? Are they finding good trade shows to attend? Or, is your marketing department wholly clueless and hostile towards the sales department? (Please see my post on Can Sales and Marketing Get Along?)
10). The Owner -
Depending on the size of your company, you may rarely see or meet the owner. But if you are working for a small to mid-size business, the owner should have either interviewed you himself while you were applying for the position or taken the time to introduce himself after you have come on board. If the owner is a total ghost, that may not be a completely bad thing, but when it comes time for a promotion or raise, how is the owner supposed to reward you if he doesn’t know you exist?
This post was from my blog — www.dononselling.com
If you like my post, please read my book — Jumpstart your Sales Career, Help for New Salespeople.