Congratulations on your decision to become a Territory Manager. It’s a great job and I know you’ll have a fantastic career. As the astronauts used to say, you’ve got “the right stuff.”
I’ve watched many talented people become sales reps. Most make it. A few flame out. Why? If you don’t mind, here are a few things I’ve noticed over the years that I think can help you avoid the pitfalls.
- Sales reps who are unwilling or unable to collaborate or delegate burn out. I know that you hold yourself to a very high professional standard. Under pressure to produce, rookie sales reps try and do it all themselves. They put in long hours and assume too much work on their own. You’ve got to be willing and comfortable collaborating and delegating. You have a team that can help you amplify your efforts. Use them.
- Sales reps who don’t ask for help or are afraid to look weak are their own worst enemy. Don’t hide your mistakes. Also, don’t speak too carefully. If you disagree with your managers then let them know.
- Substance and form both matter. You may be an expert in your field but if you have a frantic, arrogant, or aloof demeanor it can hurt your career. Running around “with your hair on fire” is not the characteristic of an organized or promotable professional.
- Spend as little time as possible fighting fires. Spend a lot more time thinking about why they’re happening in the first place. Sales reps who struggle focus their time on activities when they should be focusing on goals.
- Don’t wait to address performance problems–they’ll only snowball. Get ahead of the problems before your quarterly review. Talk to your managers if you know you’re going to miss your numbers or not deliver on your promises. Nothing good happens when you put off tough conversations.
I hope these offer a little bit of guidance as you take the next step in your career. Please let me know how I can help.
Your friend, Matt