Any great team needs an effective manager with the skills and personality to drive success and inspire its members to great things. However, management is just like any other aspect of business – it takes time to learn how to do it properly.
You need to have a plethora of skills when learning how to be an effective sales manager – it’s not enough to simply be able to sell yourself – you need to manage budgets, oversee performance, resolve disputes and showcase your team’s talents to the rest of the organisation.
Many of the skills you learn throughout your sales career are especially relevant when it comes to stepping up to the next rung on the employment ladder. Your enthusiasm, tenacity, negotiating skills, empathy, confidence and charm will all be extremely useful to you as you lead your team to success.
Top 6 qualities of an effective sales manager
Read on to learn about other successful manager traits that can help you become a truly great sales leader.
We all like to know where we stand in life, in business and with other people. One of the best things you can do for your various sales teams is be straightforward in your dealings with them. Let them know what you expect of them, what incentives they can look forward to for good performance, and repercussions for not pulling their weight.
Try not to make promises you cannot keep, and let your team know if any change is in the offing so that they are not caught unawares. Never bad-mouth anyone to others, admit your own mistakes and always do what you say you are going to do, such as making sure that you meet deadlines you commit to. Finally, make sure that your team feel that you are working with and for them, rather than against or in spite of them.
Sales are all about communicating effectively and persuading people to see your point of view as a manager and act accordingly. Good management is very similar – you are selling your vision and aspirations for a goal or objective and asking people to ‘buy into’ them. Let people know what your plans are and make sure they understand what you want to happen, and their role in the project Give feedback wisely – again, be clear and direct but try not to be mean or harsh for the sake of it.
Addressing a problem is never easy, but there are ways of doing so that stop people becoming defensive and unwilling to help resolve the issues at hand. Use your words with care to help keep people on side and fully engaged with you and the rest of the team.
The same goes with emails and written communications – never write anything that you would be unhappy to receive yourself. Re-read any emails or texts written while in an emotional state and wait until you are calmer to send them if you can.
Always thank your team for their efforts, whether that is reflected in excellent sales figures, insightful comments or ideas. Keep an open, positive attitude in meetings with them and recognise efforts whenever possible and remember to praise people
as much as you can. Even if sales are down, or the outlook is less than bright, try to soften any blows by looking for the good news in amidst the concern. If you do have to deliver bad news, keep things factual, allow people to respond and stay calm and upbeat when answering their concerns. Praise in public, discipline privately.
Successful Manager Traits
A good sales leader doesn’t stand at the front and bark orders; they muck in with the work until the task is done. Of course, there will be some elements of the sales function that you will need to oversee rather than take a more active role in, but you must make sure that those doing the day-to-day sales work feel supported and listened to, and that you are helping them in their quest to meet individual, team and organisation-wide targets and goals.
Try not to get trapped behind your desk. Get out on the road with your salespeople to see for yourself what challenges they face. Ask for people’s feedback about their jobs and their experiences selling your company’s services and products What do customers report back to your teams about the benefits and flaws of what you are offering?
Remember that burning ambition and drive that got you to the manager’s position? Don’t let them fade away – channel these powerful feelings into moving your team towards better performance. Think about how you can use your sales manager skills to help everyone work on performance improvement, increase sales figures and enhance the customer experience.
Don’t be afraid to try things out. A team that never steps outside its comfort zone is one that will not grow. If you have the trust of your team, they will follow you into new and better things and you never know what you can achieve until you try.
Make others better
A good manager surrounds themselves with intelligent, top-performing people for the good of the entire team. During interviews for salespeople, look out for candidates with excellent sales characteristics, and personalities that will fit with the other members of your team.
Take care to nurture the talent you have working with you and give your team the chance to advance their careers through productive feedback sessions, training, on-the-job experience. We all remember the manager who believed in us, had our backs and never got in the way of our own aspirations and ambitions. Be that manager, and you will be sure of having a successful sales team around you.
If you’re seeking to expand your sales team, or are newly promoted and need to establish a team of your own, you may prefer to work with a sales recruitment expert who can help you find the best talent and if necessary to help you run effective, engaging interviews to attract them to your business. To speak to a sales recruitment professional, call SalesNet to book an initial, no-obligation consultation today.