Congratulations! You’ve landed a new sales or sales management job after many different interviews with many different companies. You’re received your new email address, signed up for payroll direct deposit, and even ordered your new business cards. It’s definitely good to get all of the basics out of the way but there are obviously many other things to do.
Here are three ‘must-do’s’ that you should be doing during the first couple of weeks:
- Drink from the ’firehose’ and remain calm
- Ask lots of questions and listen to everyone
- Put together your 90-day plan.
Drink from the ‘Firehose’ and remain calm
Your new company will most likely have some kind of new employee orientation or ‘onboarding’ process that you will be joining. You could be travelling to corporate HQ and be in back-to-back meetings for a few days. Introductions and information are going to come at you like the proverbial ‘firehose’ and it’s possible you will feel somewhat overwhelmed. That’s a normal reaction and you shouldn’t be concerned about it. My experience has shown me that even when starting a new job that is clearly defined, it’s going to take you 4-6 months before you really feel comfortable and on top of things.
Sales and sales management jobs are very complex now and require learning new software and apps that you may not have used before. You may be using a new CRM system, though Salesforce is almost universally used. You’ll have to learn new company policies and T&E processes. Relax…everyone else has gone through the same anxiety and frustrations that you may be feeling, and they have survived and prospered. Read the documents that you are sent and explore all the information on company websites. Your goal should be to learn and apply your learnings as soon as you can. As John Wooden once said, “Be quick, but don’t hurry.” Basically, do the right things but learn how to do them quickly.
Ask lots of questions and listen to everyone
You have a unique opportunity when you are first starting a new role to reach out to your teammates to learn about how the team, and organization, works. I also like to learn more about the people I work with…what are their goals and aspirations? I believe it is a good idea to try and find some one-on-one time with your teammates in the first few weeks for coffee or lunch. This gives you the opportunity to step away a bit from the workplace and get to know them. I’ve always had lots of questions when starting a new role about processes and people. For example, “Is this person pretty responsive to requests?”, or, “How is the best way to communicate and work with this individual?”
Your new teammates will be most likely more than happy to show you the ropes. It is in both of your best interests for you to get up-to-speed as soon as possible. Reach out to those people in all departments that you work with. Now is the time to ask lots of questions. Your new teammates have a wealth of institutional knowledge that will be invaluable to you in creating a successful start in your new role. Take them out to coffee and lunch and listen and learn from them.
Put together your 90-day plan
As you are starting your new role, it may seem like you are in ‘reactive’ mode for the first few months. That is a normal feeling, and, in some respects, it is true for the first few weeks. Your schedule is being booked up by others and it’s important to have flexibility to respond to both internal and external meeting requests.
However, the first couple of months are critical to your success. You will need to negotiate a productive working relationship with your boss and also secure some early wins to establish your credibility and build momentum. One of the best books I’ve read on this topic is, “The First 90 Days,” by Michael Watkins. I highly recommend buying and reading this book. There are very valuable strategies that will help you to manage the challenges that you’ll be faced with. One of the best concepts that the book discusses is “the breakeven point” …which is the point at which your organization needs you as much as you need the job. This book is a great read and provides great tools and examples.
It’s important for you put together goals and mileposts for your 90-day plan. You want both you and your supervisor to be able to evaluate your progress and to identify any areas where you need help.
It’s very exciting to start a new job. You’ll be meeting new people that will add to your knowledge base, network and people skills. Remember, you were hired based on the potential and value you can add to your new organization. You’ll have a few rough patches but stick with it and you’ll be successful in your new role.