I’ve been with my company eight months now. Looking back, I would have done things things differently. But I learned a tremendous amount. And once again, I thought I knew more than I did. And this continues to be the case.
When starting a new sales management role, this is how I would prioritize my activity.
When I started this role, I was given messy overwhelming reports that I didn’t know what to do with. Half the reports had decent info, and half didn’t. It took me 6 months and taking a data science class to give myself the confidence to put in some sweat and clean the data and make sense of what my sales numbers were. This meant spending money to take a data science class and buying a few data science books. I’m still on track to learn python, but the two biggest benefits of my education have been developing a better understanding of excel and learning how to use Microstrategy to visual this data.
One I got the courage to look at my decent data and spend hours upon hours cleaning and annotating and organizing it, I was left with a brilliant archive of historical sales data with all kinds of customer information.
Get out in the field and meet as many customers as possible. Try selling the product. Present it. See what questions people are asking.
I did a lot of this, but because it took six months to look and develop available data, I was shooting in the dark, and targeting industries instead of specific customer types that are a good fit.
When I started this position I had no direction. I was given some basic technical training, but no sales direction, no value proposition, no marketing tools, no target customer list, nothing. I was told to sell.
Initially was initially overwhelming. I didn’t know where to start. My relationships with channel partners was dismal. There was annual turnover for the regional sales managers the past six years. No one did shit. I had nothing to go on.
So I decided to just go on sales calls. I cold called and got rejected and made a fool of myself. But I learned a lot. About my products, about my customers, about the market.
But after six months I still was struggling to make sense of the job and make progress.
Along the way I kept reminding myself that my success is my responsibility. No one else is responsible for whether I sink or swim and excel. It’s my job. My my directors, not the marketing team, not product managers, not the factory. It’s entirely my job.
This paid off, because when I learned to take full responsibility for my success, I began to work harder, and smarter, and complain less, and enjoy life more.
I taught myself what I needed to do to succeed. Learned the products, the market, the processes. I did the work. I crunched the data.
Leaders know the way, go the way, and how the way.
If it’s meant to be it’s up to me.
What also happened was the responsibility I assumed began extending beyond myself to my organization. I thought big, and began sharing my insights and creations with the rest of the team, and it’s created a ripple effect. It’s added value.
That’s the other thing I kept thinking:
Try not to become a make of success, but rather become a man of value.
That changes perspective quite a bit. I began thinking of not what I could get, but what I could give.
It’s made me more charitable, more inspired, and more of a team played. I am a giver. I don’t worry about getting anything in return. The activity and work I’m doing is an investment in myself, my knowledge and my career.