Advice for New Bank Sales Managers Part 2

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This is the second of two articles on what new bank sales managers can learn from successful sales leaders. In the first installment Advice for New Bank Sales Managers 14 bankers shared their insights. Here are 10 more veterans who answered this question: What would you have liked to have known before you started managing your first sales team?


“The biggest challenge for a new Sales Manager is the underlying challenge of determining the skillset and credit acumen of the individual bankers and supporting team (Underwriters, TMOs, Administration, etc.). It is important that the team understand that you are there to make them successful (i.e. grow in their career, win business and maximize compensation) and there is a need for a disciplined sales process and sales reporting (call reports, pipeline activity) to grow revenue and win new business. Once you have the roles and responsibilities of a team clearly defined and understood and you have the roles appropriately staffed the last piece of this critical puzzle is to have an incentive plan in place that drives activities/behaviors (calling activity, new client acquisition, revenue/portfolio growth, etc.).”
–Todd Munson, EVP–, Vectra Bank, Denver, CO

“The one thing that I wish that I knew was that as a leader you need to create an abundance mentality environment with a large enough safety zone to allow confidence to develop. You need to be clear on your expectations, up to your neck in the mud with your team to reinforce the right activity, encourage individuals when they are doing the right things, and let them know you have skin in their game. Employees like to know when the boss understands their challenges, has their back, and takes a personal interest in their results. You need to do what it takes, not what you feel. Never forget, your staff will follow your attitude. Always live the vision. Be calm, in control, and positive even if you aren’t feeling it.”

–Leonard S. Mialki, SVP, Integrity Bank, Harrisburg, PA
“Be disciplined in managing calling efforts focused on the core business. Do not let success on ‘wins’ outside the core business change your team’s behaviors.”
–Matt Cassell, EVP, Bank SNB, Denver, CO

“I wish I had known the power of repetition.  I missed a good opportunity to expedite the growth of my team by not repeating or keeping strategy, principles and priorities in front of them.  If I gave instruction or direction once, no matter how long ago, I expected the team to have recognized and latched on to its importance. Repetition is key to keeping people on track when they get distracted and misdirected.”
–Martha Miller, SVP, Synovus Bank, Pensacola, FL
“I wish I would have known the importance of messaging expectations and priorities…over and over again.”
–Jim Donovan, Group Vice President,  M&T Bank, Harrisburg, PA

“If I were going in to a sales manager role fresh, with a new team, one of the first things I would like to know is the personality types (Myers Briggs, for example) of my teammates. I would like to know how they like to give and receive information and feedback, and clearly identify what motivates them. I believe this is almost as important as what they know and who they know. Knowing your team personally opens the door to being effective in providing sales and service leadership.”

–Jim McAlister, SVP,  First Bank & Trust, Christiansburg, VA


“I wish I had known the value of niches and COI relationships before taking over a bank sales team.”
–Kelly Condon, SVP, Colorado Business Bank, Denver, CO

“It would have been great to know how to best manage and motivate the wide variety of personalities that were on my team.”
–Jeffrey Clemons, SVP, Old Point National Bank, Hampton, VA

“You can’t complain about something unless you have a recommended solution.”

–William T. Kepler, EVP, Fulton Bank, Lancaster, PA

“I constantly struggled with trying to figure out how I could motivate the sales force.  What could I say, what words of wisdom, what power of persuasion could I use to drive them to do their best?  Then I came across two quotes that proved that neither I nor any other sales manager can motivate anyone.

* If the right people are on the bus the problem of how to motivate and manage largely goes away.  The right people don’t need to be tightly managed or fired up; the will be self-motivated by the inner drive to produce the best results and to be part of creating something great. (Jim Collins, Good to Great)  

* Nothing or no one can motivate another human being.  I can’t possibly want more for you, your spouse and your children than you do.  I may be able to give you better ideas about how to get what you want for yourself and for them, but you have to want it.” (Nick Murray, The Game of Numbers)

If I would have realized this earlier, I would not have wasted time and energy on trying to be a motivator, and used that time more efficiently in building the right team members and finding and passing along ideas that would help them achieve their personal goals.”

–Dave Finui, SVP,  Ameriserv Trust & Financial, Johnstown, PA

Agree or disagree? Add your comments in the space below or email me at

How do you assess the sales skills of your team? Sales specific assessments can be used to identify areas for improvement in an existing team. If you would like to see a sample assessment tool that was built for sales, go here

Any new Sales Managers in your organization who would benefit from participating in a 10 week virtual bootcamp led by Ned Miller beginning early in 2018? Call him at 484-433-2378 or email him for more information.

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