5 Things I Learned During My First Year in Sales Management

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In 1998 I moved to Phoenix to take my first Inside Sales Management job at Insight (NYSE: NSIT). We resold technology to the Fortune 500. Mine was a new team with a new leader building new books of business. Read: It suuuuuucked.

There aren’t a lot of “un-tried” leads in the Fortune 500, and my brand new team and I were all struggling. The memory of it is still pretty vivid for me – feeling completely overwhelmed. The frustration at constantly saying “I don’t know,” twenty seven times a day, and the very late nights trying to figure out what I should be doing and then just doing email instead. . .

Today I remember these times to help me guide the Factor 8 team in developing and delivering Management and Leadership training for Inside Sales Managers. As most of you know, we don’t go for BS theory classes at Factor 8, we try very hard to solve real-life problems and impart immediately-applicable skills in class.

Man I wish I’d had that training back then. Scary that some of you out there were BORN when I was doing this. Sometimes I still feel like that 23 year old trying to pretend I knew what I was doing (But I digress).

So what do you remember? I’ll get the ball rolling with the top five things I didn’t know, should have known, wish I’d known. Please share one of yours. What’s a key skill for sales managers that someone should teach them in year one? (Or, if you’re living this right now, what is something you wish they would teach you??) Can’t wait to see the list!!

  1. The management screens and responsibilities in CRM (seriously, tell me I had to release orders, that might have helped)
  2. Meeting prep. I spent 8 hours preparing for my first team meeting. Ridiculous.
  3. Motivation tactics. Month one I sent out emails to rally the troops behind our first quota . Awful. Really? Email?
  4. Cadence. What meetings should I be having? When? 1:1 or group?
  5. Who’s who in the zoo? Who do I call to get a credit line extended? A product ordered? An account moved?

PS: My old boss from 1998 interviewed me for his Management / Leadership Blog last year. We talked about my first year in leadership and how to be successful. Here’s the link: https://managermojo.com/make-people-successful/.

PSS: And if you want to see what Factor 8 does with live training for managers and leaders, contact us at info@factor8.com.


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