How to succeed in your new sales manager role

So you’ve just landed a brand new sales manager’s role for a SaaS company — what now?

Sales management means great responsibility, but there’s no need to feel intimidated. You’ve earned this role—now it’s time to get out there and kill it.

Good leadership comes in many forms and you’ll quickly discover what leadership style works best for you and your team.

As the leader of a sales team there are many things you can do to maximize output in a way that will build respect and camaraderie. This begins with getting your sales reps to believe in you as a leader that can help them accomplish the overall company mission and their personal goals.

As John Maxwell said...

People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.

In this post we highlight some tips that you can use as a sales leader to thrive in your new role.

Set clear expectations

Just as your team has expectations from you, you should have expectations of them.

It’s important that you set these expectations for each of your salespeople so that everyone is familiar with their individual objectives. In turn, doing so will also help navigate focus towards the company’s collective goals. This is even more important if you're managing a remote sales team.

Expectations can include things such as:

  • Performance standards and clear sales KPIs
  • Personal development
  • Administrative standards

Without setting expectations, resources like time and money will be wasted. Even the best sales reps won’t work at maximum efficiency without them.

Build trust and credibility with your team

As is the case with any team environment, it’s imperative that you create a culture that inspires your employees.

Each sales rep should feel comfortable and confident with their responsibilities. Help them by offering resources to fuel their success. This will ensure that every employee feels like a valued part of the team.


Make it clear to your team that you’re on their side, that you know what you’re doing and that you’re someone they can talk to. Having an “open-door” policy will improve transparency between you and your reps, which increases trust and credibility.

It’s important to treat every member of the team with respect and honesty. Offer to help, provide guidance and present feedback whenever possible.

Looking to level up your skills? Dive into the world of sales manager training in my article.

Get your team motivated

There are numerous ways to motivate sales teams. The challenge for sales leaders is discovering a way to keep everyone inspired based on their unique, individual needs.

Some people may be incentivized by sales competitions and quota prizes while others may be motivated through earning vacation days.

Be creative with how you motivate your team but make sure sales incentives aren’t the only reason your employees are working hard.

Sometimes all someone needs is a little recognition to influence them to keep up the hard work. This can be as simple as thanking them so they understand their work didn’t go unnoticed. It’s the little things you can do that will resonate with your team.

Sales leaderboards can also be a great way to help reps get a sense for their current performance.


At the end of the day, your sales reps are going to make or break the results you achieve and report on; make sure they are always bringing their best energy.

Keep the big picture in mind

It’s important to recognize that sales is only part of the overall organization. Sales goals must connect to business goals, as you need to be able to report on what’s important to leadership / the CMO / head of sales / etc.

Keeping the big picture in mind includes ensuring that your team is all on the same page with business goals and not just sales goals. Oftentimes sales leaders forget to do this, which will reflect poorly when you are asked to update upper management.

Examples of business goals include:

  • Increase number of annual contracts signed
  • Expand target market
  • Hit clearly defined revenue goals

Make certain that you regularly meet with the team to update them when company goals change. These meetings can be held weekly, biweekly, or monthly, or quarterly—whatever best fits your company culture.

For us at Close, we try to keep the amount of meetings to a minimum, and make every meeting count. When it comes to communicating overall company goals, we do this during our twice yearly remote team retreats, or since the pandemic made travelling complicated, virtual team retreats.


Now it’s your time to shine!

Use your first few months in your new leadership role to experiment with different tactics to see what works best for you. As we mentioned, the definition of a good leader varies. You will find your own definition by keeping the above tips in mind.

Want all the tools, templates and checklists you need to manage a sales team like a champ? Download your Sales Management Toolkit now!

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