(Podcast) 3 Urgent Things to Do In Your First 90 Days as a Sales Manager

August 21, 2019

Summary: New sales managers aren’t just responsible for upholding their team’s trust. They have their team’s careers riding on their shoulders. They have their team’s families relying on them. On this episode of the B2B Sales Show, Dave Thomson, Chief Revenue Officer at Winmo sits down with Tree McGlown, Chief Revenue Officer at Sideqik, to talk about the three things that newly minted managers should do in their first 90 days.

Announcer 1: You are listening to the B2B Sales Show, a podcast dedicated to helping B2B sales professionals master the art and science of selling. If you want to hear what successful sales leaders and individual contributors are doing to break into new accounts, close more deals, and drive revenue for their organizations, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s get into the show.

Dave Thomson: Hello, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of the B2B Sales Show. I’m Dave Thomson, Chief Revenue Officer at Winmo, and today I’m joined by Tree McGlown, who is a Chief Revenue Officer as well, and Co-Founder, of a company called Sideqik. S-I-D-E-Q-I-K. Tree is responsible for leading revenue, finance, and partnerships over at Sideqik. For those that don’t already know, Sideqik is an N2N influencer marketing platform that combines AI-based social media intelligence with influencer marketing to help marketers forecast what trends will be important to that brand in the future. Tree, welcome.

Tree McGlown: How’s it going?

Thomson: It’s going well. Did I leave anything out there?

McGlown: No, I think that was pretty clear. Appreciate it.

Thomson: Yeah.

McGlown: Good intro.

Thomson: Well I’m, again, happy to have you on the show. And I’m really excited about our topic today because I think it’s one that’s going to be impactful and resonate across all the listeners today. So, whether you’re a newly minted sales manager, maybe you’re a sales rep right now with an ambition to one day manage a sales team, or if you’re a senior sales manager and you’re looking to promote one of your reps to a manager position, I’m really hoping that you’re going to take away some really actionable components of our podcast today. The topic today is going to be centered on as a newly minted sales manager, that first 90 days, which I think, and we talk about, is so critical, how to set yourself up and your team up for success in the critical first three months as a sales manager. I wanted to start, Tree, with a question for you, which is of the most important things you think that a new sales manager needs to focus on in the first 90 days, what do you think are the three most important?

McGlown: Yeah, that is a great question. To start off with, I think the number one is to listen and build a relationship. When you’re starting off as a new sales leader, or just a new leader in general, I believe that you really need to be humble. Be open to understand that your ideas might not always be the best ideas, but the end game is to make sure that the team wins. That is number one. Number two, evaluate your team that you presently have. When you’re going in, I would make sure that you understand that not all teams are created equal. Quickly assess and get a good understanding of your team’s skills, skill sets, what the future looks like for your organization, and make sure that your team aligns with those.

McGlown: Number three, these two things kind of go along, burn the ships and have intense focus. Everything that has happened in the past, what I like to take the approach is, if it happened in the past, you can assess it and learn from it but as you look for that next round of growth and that next step, it might be the case that everything that has happened previously, you’re going to have to throw it all out. And you’re going to have to be okay with that as a leader. And then, have intense focus. The people on your team is not just entrusting you with their career, they’re entrusting you with their families. With that trust, you need to have intense focus on what the goals/objectives are for your organization and to make sure that they’re hitting their individual goals and you are aligning what they want to do in the future with all the value and additive stuff which you’re providing for them.

Thomson: Got you, okay. Thanks for that. I think we got a bonus one in there-

McGlown: You did.

Thomson: … for number four. I want to talk a little bit more about, you were talking about building and evaluating the team and evaluating skill sets and evaluating your team, but what are some of your ideas on a newly minted sales manager? How best do they evaluate their sales reps in a short amount of time? Is it just looking historically at past sales figures? Is it utilizing sales tools to evaluate these individuals? What have you found is the best way of evaluating the team in a short manner?

McGlown: I think it’s a combination of both. I believe you need to understand what they have done in the past, like what do their numbers look like. And that evaluation goes beyond what have they done at the company in which they are at. What have they done prior? Get a good understanding of who they are, what motivates them. And then you have to ask the actual question, how does that align with the future of your organization? I also spend time with that person and those groups of people and talk to them. Because I do find that through conversation you learn a lot about a person. You learn some of the intangibles because you can really find that maybe someone has historically underperformed but they have a fire, a desire to hit that next level and they just need to tweak what they’re doing a little bit and then you can uncap that potential that just hasn’t been unleashed yet. So, I like to have conversations, one on ones, and all this is really happening over the first week or two. This is not like a super long process, but it does take very specific effort and focus around making sure that you understand each of your team members.

Thomson: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. It’s something I talk a lot about to my team is something that you mentioned there, is really evaluating people based on ability and willingness, is two of the things I look at. Those that maybe are lacking the ability but to have the willingness is something I think you mentioned, working with those individuals to get there and to get back on track as a way of doing it. I definitely agree with all those. I have some of my own, but I think number one was very similar to yours in terms of building a relationship with your team. I think that’s of critical importance. And, like you, within the first two weeks, I think it can be done, having those one on one conversations with your team. Really understanding what drives them and getting to know them on a personal level, and starting to build that trust. Because I’m a big proponent of that trust that your employees feel to you is what’s going to keep them engaged and what’s going to keep them, frankly, at your company for a long time. So, I think that’s, as you mentioned, of critical importance. Something else I think all newly minted sales managers need to do right out of the gate is take a look at the comp plan and review and evaluate that because your team’s actions and behaviors are going to be dictated directly by their comp structure.

Thomson: If you want to change the behavior and the focus of the sales team, change your comp. If we wanted to focus more on multiyear contracts, adding specific spiffs to focus on that is something I do right out of the gate. Also, if especially you’re coming on board with a growing company that’s scaling really quickly, you need to learn how to interview and interview ASAP. And I see this as probably the biggest opportunity, I’ll call it, across the board. I see a lot of sales managers take that role and they don’t have enough support in terms of their boss telling them how they should conduct interviews and moving forward. So, they’re just kind of learning based on doing without having a lot of guidance, and I find a lot of times what happens is they eventually make hiring decisions based on whether they want to grab a beer with that individual after work as opposed to whether this individual is going to come in and really make an impact. So, for me, I’m always looking and asking questions around coachability and their work ethic. And I’m big on how inquisitive that that individual was as well, so what I like to do in all my interviews is leave 30%, to even upwards of 50% of the interview is spent having the interviewee ask questions to me.

Thomson: I want to see number one, obviously, are they prepared? Do they know a lot about our company? Number two, I want to know are they asking really smart questions? Because I know if they are, then when they come on board and it gets to the discovery phase of selling, I know they’re going to be really good. That’s one of the most important phases of the process that we have here. My last one is, I would say go in and evaluate the sales stack, what the team is using. A lot of times, I see people coming in and as a scale they just focus 100% on headcount and not the efficiency that can be derived from their current sales team by having the right tools and resources to make every single one of their reps more efficient. There are obviously a ton of tools out there I’m not going to get into. It’s probably another podcast, going through all the various sales tools out there that could help a team out. But, taking a look at the sales stack, asking your team where the deficiencies are, and getting those things in place. Let’s move on to the next set of questions, which is, Tree, what are the things that you’ve learned going from an individual contributor to a manager specifically? Do you have anything that you can relate to?

McGlown: Yeah, actually. This is actually probably the more humbling question, is just realizing I’m going to be wrong more often than I’m right and being okay with that. But learning quickly from your mistakes, from your bad calls, and making sure you have the right team around you. I have really found that as a leader, if you take a very humble approach towards best idea wins, being humble around the idea of hey, our goals are to win, people take and receive that and you become a trusted adviser and not just a manager. You become a leader. And that starts with being really humble, being very open. That transition, especially when you’re going from probably you were a winner like as I say, you were crushing it, going from that and knowing that everything you were doing was probably working. That’s why you got promoted. That’s why you’re taking that next step. But, as a first-time leader and manager, you will make mistakes. But, being okay with that and learning quickly from them, that separates the people who ended up being great from the people who end up being average.

Thomson: Yep, I couldn’t agree more. Just to continue down that path a little bit more, for me specifically, because I think you and I, we’re in the same place, we both were individual contributors, sales reps, at one time. For me, I think the most difficult thing was being a top rep and just having to rely on myself and my work ethic and everything was on me to be successful to almost a complete opposite, where now I’m 100% dependent on my team achieving those goals. I can’t help from a sales perspective, in terms of getting them there, certainly for motivation and everything else. That is what I’ve found, and talking to some sales leaders as well. A lot of feedback is they struggle with that as well, right out of the gate. Some resort to extreme micromanagement right out of the gate, and that just has the opposite effect of what you think will actually help out. You hurt a lot of relationships there. You might see a small uptake when you’re taking over deals and having a conversation and get some deals sold, but in the mid to long run there, you’re not going to be as successful doing that.

McGlown: Also layering process on them, that scalable process. That is something when, as an individual contributor, it’s really more art. But the transition to being science, that transition, that layering process, being okay with being in other people on your team that are working with you and for you to do the areas that you’re not as strong in and you might be more gifted in leading and orchestrating and guiding, but being okay with filling your gaps and recognizing what those gaps are.

Thomson: Yeah, absolutely. And I see that a lot too. Why sometimes some of the best sales reps struggle with management is that I think a lot of really good sales reps are naturally gifted in that, but when it comes to explaining and teaching and coaching what makes them successful, they struggle with that because they’re just naturally really good and they’ve got processes in place but it’s hard for them to articulate that to their team. And that ends up being a big problem for some managers. So, making sure, like you said, having that process. Being able to articulate your process and explain that to the team is of critical importance. How about, how do you get better from a management standpoint, from podcasts? Obviously, this is a great one, but books? Are there any books that you recommend, Tree, that you’ve read?

McGlown: When it comes to books, I take a little bit of a different approach than probably a lot of salespeople out there. My thought is how do I get a more robust, well-rounded knowledge in general around business, around life. Some of the books which have had some big impact on me have been Grit. It just talks about the whole startup grind. Starting something from nothing, pushing through the short term pain for the long term growth. Chase the Lion. Thinking about are your dreams big enough? Because if you want to be great, you have to have great dreams. Lastly, a book which I really liked a lot, it was a big read, I think it was like 700 pages, but Principles by Ray Dalio. That book, just when you’re thinking about building a team, and they obviously have a very unique approach to building their organization, their hedge fund, but his way of thinking about building a team, building accountability, and making sure people at all levels understand the actual business, I thought that was pretty interesting and unique. Those are three books that meant a lot to me and just my overall growth. As you could tell, they’re not necessarily directly sales books.

Thomson: No, no, no. That’s interesting. Add three new books to my list, since I know I haven’t read all three of those. Principles: Life and Work might be a book on tape for me.

McGlown: That is a book on tape.

Thomson: It seems really-

McGlown: I’m not going to lie. That-

Thomson: … It seems like a long one. I’m kind of in the same sentiment as you are. As you know, I do read some sales-centric books, but some of the ones that have been most impactful for me are not just specific sales-type books. One which is an older book, but I feel I’ve garnered a lot from it, just from both a personal and a professional standpoint, is the old Dale Carnegie … Is that how you pronounce the last name?

McGlown: Carnegie?

Thomson: Carnegie?

McGlown: Carnegie.

Thomson: It’s How to Win Friends and … Yeah, I’m not sure. How to Win Friends and Influence People. I’m kind of a history buff, so listening to a lot of the stories about Henry Ford and Rockefeller are really, really interesting. But, I think what’s really impactful for me is the storytelling in the book. I think they’re fantastic stories that he lays out. And it’s something I try to impress upon my team as well when they’re doing presentations or going through demos of the product, is it the importance of storytelling. Because if you have a very feature specific type of of demo, here are a lot of stats that say 24 hours after a demo or presentation your audience is going to retain about 5% or less of that. But, if you’re telling really good stories, that number goes up exponentially. So, I just like how the stories are presented in the book, and that is, again, something I try to teach the team here about a lot, is the importance of storytelling.

Thomson: And then, one of the most recent books are, or one of the books I’m reading right now, is Can’t Hurt Me by Dave Goggins, which is really interesting. This guy had a really, really hard upbringing. Ended up being a Navy Seal, an Army Ranger, an ultramarathoner, and lives by this 40% rule, that we’re only using 40% of our potential all the time. A big proponent of mind over matter. It’s been a really interesting book so far. I’m looking forward to finishing that. All right, well I think we’re up against it, Tree. It was great talking with you. That kind of wraps up another episode of the B2B Sales Show. Obviously, thanks for joining. I’ve learned a ton here. Tree, if listeners would like to learn a little bit more about you or Sideqik, where should they go?

McGlown: You guys can either email me at tree, T-R-E-E, @sideqik, S-I-D-E-Q-I-K, .com. Or, feel free to ping me on LinkedIn. Or, you can go to our website, which is sideqik.com.

Thomson: Perfect. Easy enough. Well, awesome. Make sure you guys are checking them out. They’re doing pretty incredible things over there. And if you’d like to learn more about Winmo and the sales intelligence platform that we have, you can go to winmo.com/b2bsalesshow. And feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn. David Thomson. Thomson, no P. T-H-O-M-S-O-N. All right, thanks Tree.

McGlown: Appreciate it, yeah.

Announcer 2: Looking for a smarter way to find relevant and actionable sales leads each day and a better way to open new doors with advertisers, marketers, and their agencies? That’s where Winmo can help. Recognized and trusted by your peers, it is the most comprehensive, accurate, and widely used advertising database available. Winmo is your only source for exclusive sales leads that are curated by analysts and delivered to you each and every morning. See what your industry peers are using to beat you to the sale. Start receiving the actionable leads you need to start owning the sales leader board now. Step up your sales game and win more by requesting a custom demo of Winmo today. Go to www.winmo.com/b2bsalesshow.

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The B2B Sales Show is a podcast dedicated to helping B2B sales professionals master the art and science of selling. If you want to hear what successful sales leaders and individual contributors are doing to break into new accounts, close more deals, and drive revenue for their organizations, you’ve got to check out their content!


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