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Greetings all.....

I have accepted a lateral move from front line sales manager to a new position at corporate managing a larger team inside our production group.

I expect a great number of things to be different in the HQ environment as compared to my "home office" environment.

That said, I am curious about any observations anyone on this board may have related to such a move.

What can I expect to be different?
What should I be on the lookout for?
What tips would you give a propotypical "sales guy" coming into an office environment for the first time in 10 years?

Thank you, in advance, for your words of wisdom!!!

Sean

bflynn's picture

My observation - you're already ahead by recognizing that there will be differences.

1) you're going to have the chance to be "in" the know more. A lot of your corporate ambiguity is going change, you're going to become much more aware of what is going on. This can be very career enhancing, especially if you start getting involved with higher corporate officers.

2) you'll also be more visible - results still count, but so does "apparent effort". When you're working in the office, there is an expectation that you're going to be in the office and working. Fair or not, if you're leaving earlier than others, there will be a view that you're not working hard. Yes, it can have nothing to do with actual results. You're going to feel "chained to your desk" at times.

Did I hear that you're moving from sales to operations? That will likely be a larger change than moving from a mobile position to a fixed position.

Hope these help you deal with expectations and that the move is a good thing.

DavidB's picture

Adding to the above.

2A) Visibility also means being on peoples radar. It will now involve you in more of the office politics.

3) Corporate culture is now in your face. You will have to deal with all the proximity triggered aspects of the culture. When your remote, or at least for me when I was remote, I noticed that there was a significant difference between on the phone & remote, in person & visting from remote, and in person & not-remote.

3A) The gossip machine will be very noticable for a while. While remote, gossip usally comes in bursts - and most of the really rediculous things have been dropper. When local, you are now privy to the annoying barage of meaningless babble named 'Office Gossip'. You will be dealing with more of the noise that used to be filtered out. Enjoy. :) This is really an extension of 1 as well.

Just my $0.02 worth.

David

Mark's picture

Sean-

Watch your back.

Kidding... and, NOT.

I will work up a longer reply. I've done this, and coached many on it.

Mark

regas14's picture

My perception in conversations with people and having been part of a field sales force and now working in a corporate office (although two very different companies and industries) is that a big difference is the view of time.

Good sales people, working within an appropriate compensation structure recognize a strong correlation between time and money. They know what tasks and activities make them money and which are a drain on their most valuable resource - time.

Corporate offices have a different view of time. Some of which is inherrent to the strategic, direction-setting activities at some levels of an organization but much of it is simply wasteful.

Be cautious about the amount of time you get sucked into wasteful meetings and projects/tasks of very limited scope. If it won't impact the customer, it's not likely to impact the business.

Good Luck!

Mark's picture

Sean-

I'm sorry this has taken me so long. I somehow lost the "keep unread" tag I had put on it... well, it was my fault. My apologies.

Here are some thoughts:

1. This is like ANY move/job change. FIT IN, FIT IN, FIT IN. Reach out to others, and be cautious of any guidance to make a difference, or shake things up, or make a splash, or "fix that mess now." Create relationships, and find out what others expect of you in the role. THEN make some changes. Persuade, persuade, persuade. Sales helps here.

2. Make sure you get clarity from your boss regarding your role and its measurements. Require an hour from him or her to tell you what they think and want. If you suppose that he won't do the pre-work, come up with an analysis on your own and present it for editing.

3. After 90 days, ask for another meeting and ask for adjustments and clarification where reality differs from the plan. Between 0 and 90, know EXACTLY what your team thinks you should be doing. No one ever seems to ask the folks that do the work.

4. Don't forget your salesforce relationships. Schedule recurring tasks NOW for outreach and friend maintenance. You'll see them all again... but at corporate, you're part of the problem. You're a mole in the evil empire for 6 months, and then you ARE the evil empire. ;-) It sounds funny, but you can take it to the bank...

5. What my clients have experienced, as referenced above, is a distinctly different feel about time and speed. The issue, of course, is customer focus, or lack thereof, on the inside. Expect things to move more slowly. To combat this, ask politely for commitments on deadlines, and then follow up, follow up, follow up. Do not EVER say, "this would never work in the field." The person who hears that will think, "that's why I'm not out in the field. I'm here near the powerful people."

6. Meetings will drive you crazy if you aren't careful. Meetings, meetings, meetings. Go to all of them in the beginning, and stick out your hand in every one. The people who are bewildered by your approach are the IT and Finance folks. ;-)

7. Learn how to run a meeting, and then do it that way, even if it is enormously countercultural. Hopefully you know where to go to learn if you don't already know how.

8. Email may well replace voicemail as the core communication vehicle. Sales folks love voicemail... corporate offices like email. Don't forget that they're both proxies for face to face. Limit email to three times a day... which may be MORE than you did in the field. Don't fall prey to checking it all the darn time... and set the ping period to a couple of hours. That will help. We have more casts on email in the queue...

9. Power is more diffuse. Don't expect things to be so vertical (all flowing from your boss.) Pay attention to your boss and peers' behaviors in meetings. Caution is advised...

10. Maintain some client relationships if it doesn't dilute your replacement's efficacy in your previous role. Customers are ALWAYS important to know. Ask THEM what they think of stuff... and be ready to see them again at some point.

Sorry about the loss of Primanti Brothers. Some of the best times of my life, all at 3 am...

Hope this helps.

Mark

Sean McGinnis's picture

Mark:

Many thanks for the thoughtful response. It means a great deal that you would take the time out of your busy scheduled to compile something so detailed. That said, I knew you had made this transision prior and I knew your giving spirit would not let an opportunity to help a fellow "deer-in-the-headlights" go without offering to hel.... :shock:

MT has been a HUGE help in this process. Here is what I have scheduled so far for next week (which is slated as kind of a transition week).

1. One and a half hours with my boss to clarify his expectations as well as get his personal assessment of the team at this point.

2. One hour with HR for same.

3. Two hours with my boss and our PM to bring me up to speed on two major projects that impact my team on a go forward basis.

4. One hour meeting with Product Development, who is responsible for writing product specs for our next generation of products, which my team is in charge of fulfilling - to begin a dialog between the two departments and get some ideas around focus points for the next generation of service levels.

5. 15 30 minute O3s - one with each team member to begin to get to know them personally and professionally.

6. My final act prior to jumping on a plane and leaving town is a one hour team meeting where I plan on running the introductory meeting discussed in MTs members only podcast from December 2005.

This is my first week "on the job" scheduled.....

I appreciate the 90 day follow up idea with my boss and will schedule same during our one hour meeting!

Lastly, if you like Primanti Bros in Pittsburgh, you simply have to check out Portillos in Chicago. The best Italian Beef this side of the Mississippi - and the other side as well - no 3 AM memories required, of course!

Thanks again Mark, and all that have commented. I realize this is an unusual situation, but continue to encourage ideas and feedback from all that are on the boards.

Thanks again!

Sean

Mark's picture

Sean-

AS IF!

Been to Portillos many times, and completely love it.

Primantis wins, though, BECAUSE it is at 3 am. The food is taste wise perhaps unremarkable (how would I know? It was 3 am), but Primantis always means a memory-making-night.

Good luck, and keep us posted.

Mark