Leading and Succeeding – What Makes a Great Sales Manager

You might think that being a great sales manager is all about analyzing KPIs and methodically crafting sales plans. While that is certainly part of it, there are myriad of other considerations a sales manager must make in order to succeed.

As the head of your team, in charge of hitting sales targets and achieving growth, you have to be both coach and critic, cheerleader and leader, analyst and orator… the list goes on.

Sales manager and her team

Understanding Differences

It is understandable for a new sales manager to believe that whatever qualities got them the job, those are the same qualities they should bestow upon their sales team. Unfortunately, that probably won’t work. Just because you have achieved success a certain way, it doesn’t mean that a top-down imposition of that style is going to improve everyone.

You have to pay attention to each of your team members’ strengths and needs, and manage accordingly. Tailor your management style to each team member and foster her/his unique talents.

In short: don’t try to be a one-size-fits-all manager.

Communicating Effectively

You were probably in their position once, and when you were, chances are you wanted your manager to communicate clearly and display some empathy. Each generation of managers should improve upon the last, and this is one area is which many managers can certainly improve.

Short of just being the taskmaster, try to effectively communicate your vision for the team, and really sell it to them (after all, you are a salesperson). Listen for their subtle calls for help and try to coach them towards success, giving them the necessary tools and training they require.

Recruiting The Best & Fostering Growth

Expanding your team, or replacing team members, is a significant part of a sales manager’s job, and must be undertaken with care and consideration. You want people who will thrive and succeed in your specific sales environment. Don’t just go it alone, hiring the first attractive CV you see; to ensure that you find a high-performing candidate who is a right fit for your team.  Work with experienced sales recruiters who can pull from a large database of salespeople, even salespeople who may not be actively looking. Your team dynamic is important, so don’t cut corners here.

Setting Clear & Realistic Goals

Achieving a goal can be a real confidence booster for a sales rep. Conversely, failing goal after goal can stick a sale rep in a rut from which it is difficult to get out. This is why, as a sales manager, you should try and set clear, realistic goals. The goals may shift from team member to team member according to what needs improvement, but you should always buttress your criticism and/or praise with ample feedback.

Give your feedback often, and always with an eye toward improvement, making sure that if they meet their goals they aim to achieve even higher.

Sales presentation

Conclusion

As much as you may miss the grind of making big sales, your role has changed, and you must change accordingly. Understanding your team members’ unique needs, communicating clearly and effectively, setting realistic goals and working with sales recruiters to expand your team properly will put you squarely on the road to management success.

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