Revenue growth and customer satisfaction objectives are especially valued by companies, and sales managers who can achieve these goals while still keeping the company inventive and competitive are highly regarded by employers.
What Is a Sales Manager?
It’s the sales manager’s job to establish and manage a sales team for a business.
Sales managers are responsible for a wide range of key responsibilities in most companies. For example, these include:
- Setting sales goals.
- Proactive experimentation to enhance the execution of a sales strategy.
- Keeping an eye on critical deals.
- Overseeing the company’s sales training program.
- Maintaining sales quotas for individuals and teams.
- Keeping tabs on progress and evaluating data in real time.
- Sales team management and support.
Those are a few of the many critical responsibilities related to a sales manager’s role in the company.
Sales Rep vs Sales Manager
Generally sales managers come out of the top percentage of salespeople. They are initially promoted for their ability to close deals and drive revenue. However, being great at sales and being a great sales manager require completely different skill sets.
Having excellent sales skills doesn’t necessarily make you a great sales manager. Learning to transition from one role to the other can be bumpy. But once you understand what your sales team, and company, need from you as a leader you can then focus on which skills to develop.
What Makes a Great Sales Manager?
Being a good sales manager, or learning to become a better one, is usually dependent on knowing what the sales team needs from you.
Your sales representatives need a mentor who will keep them responsible, evaluate their work, and provide feedback on how they can improve. They may also need you to be someone who celebrates their successes or advocates for them within the company.
Sales management skills and an eagerness to understand the techniques are essential for a sales manager to succeed. The best sales managers are constantly looking for ways to improve.
An organization’s revenue-generating operations are directly influenced by the sales manager’s skills. A sales manager is in the unique position of having to support individuals separately and the organization as a whole.
Having experience as a sales manager can improve your job performance and allow you to move up the corporate ladder.
This article will explain the skills a sales manager needs to be successful.
10 Essential Sales Management Skills
The following 10 sales management skills are necessary for every sales manager:
1. COMMUNICATION AND INTERPERSONAL SKILLS
As a sales manager, you’ll spend a large portion of your time meeting and conversing with your sales team.
Because of this, understanding how to deal with them is critical. Great communication skills are an asset. It helps guarantee that you’re communicating the right information to the sales personnel and other employees in a timely way, through the appropriate media, and in the right tone for the specific rep you’re speaking with.
A sales manager’s job is to make sure everyone understands their responsibilities and what they need to accomplish for the team to succeed. It’s also their role to make sure each rep has bought into the vision of the team.
2. COACHING AND MENTORING
To assist your sales staff, it’s crucial to give sales training and guidance. Sales training frequently comprises sales tactics and product knowledge. However, sales coaching can foster habits that will drive your team members to meet their long-term performance and sales goals.
When you have good coaching abilities, you’re better equipped to assist each member of your team to improve as a salesperson.
When it comes to managing a sales team, the sales manager needs to keep tabs on both the little details of each day and the broader picture of the company’s overall objectives. And they have to know how to apply that information to their team.
You can improve the quality of a salesperson by providing them with coaching, advice, and support, and the sales manager must take an active role in this process.
However, a good sales manager knows that if they micromanage too much, they will crush their team’s sales performance. They also know that if they don’t pay attention to what their team is doing, they may stop performing at optimal levels.
Sales teams work like high school baseball teams. A sales manager acts as the coach, building up the team and their skills. Over time the best performers will eventually leave to develop their own careers. This should be the goal, that the sales manager is developing their best performers to be independent.
The benefit of this is that your “seniors” are helping develop the “freshmen” before graduating and starting their own coaching careers.
While a sales manager is teaching their senior reps to mentor others, they should be mentoring a fellow member of their management team who may need a little extra help. Arrange activities that get your coworkers moving. Don’t sit around and wait for top-down changes to be made your way. Instead, try out new ideas for driving good change in your team.
3. CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT (CRM)
This skill helps you manage the connections and interactions between your current and potential clients. It gives you information on how well each member of your team is doing. It also helps you better manage your connections, sales, and relationships with customers.
A good sales manager should know the ins and outs of the CRM they are using. A tool is only good if the person working with it knows how to use it.
Dig into your CRM. Learn how to scan dashboards and reports, or better yet create your own. Learn everything you can about the contacts, companies, and deals within the system. Learn how to use the tools your sales reps use within the system so that you can better coach them on their use. This can be as simple as learning how to create email templates or meeting links to make outreach more effective.
Once you know how to use the CRM, you may find that your hours of management become minutes, or at least more effective.
4. ANALYSIS SKILLS
A sales manager is responsible for looking through the data, determining what information is pertinent, and making meaningful judgments.
A large part of a sales manager’s job is checking data on spreadsheets or CRM dashboards and being able to make quick decisions about what actions to take. They are responsible for performing in-depth analyses of the market and the clients to find potential opportunities and collaborations, which is a significant component of their work.
A sales manager needs to be able to glance at the data and see who is performing or not, and what adjustments need to be made on sales strategy. They also need to be able to discuss that information in a meaningful way with people at all levels of the company.
To do this, you need to have excellent analytical abilities and the capacity to make conclusions that are relevant and useful for the business.
These kinds of data are essential in projecting sales and defining sales targets that are aligned with the company’s overall objectives. This also serves as the foundation for developing sales strategies, which the sales manager will put into action.
5. STRATEGIC THINKING AND PLANNING
Planning is a vital step that must be taken to ensure the expansion of a sales department and, ultimately, the scalability of a firm. First, the sales manager must gather all of the relevant data and insights needed to build a plan. The next step in the process is to design a strategy for the course of action that will actualize the sales plan.
This includes implementing, monitoring, and modifying the plan from the beginning through to the finish to guarantee that the plan will be successfully implemented.
In addition, it requires gathering the complete team under a single roof to work toward a unified common goal to enhance workflow management. To do this, a sales manager has to be able to:
- Identify the sales objectives.
- Record the procedure so everybody can follow it.
- Offer the required training and support to ensure that the whole sales force is efficient continuously.
6. DELEGATION OF RESPONSIBILITIES
To assist their team in reaching its full potential, sales managers need to know when it’s appropriate to delegate certain responsibilities. Sales managers are human too, and no matter how good they are, they can only do so much.
To effectively allocate your personnel, you need a solid understanding of the strengths and shortcomings of each salesperson. When you allocate tasks to them in the appropriate manner, your employees will have the chance to:
- Push themselves.
- Learn new abilities.
- Improve the overall performance of the sales team.
The degree to which a sales manager is successful can be measured by how efficiently they utilize the sales department to advance the objectives of the firm. This is also a great way to develop your sales team’s skills and prepare them for advancement in their careers.
To be successful in this endeavor, a sales manager has to be aware of when and how to assign duties to other employees to boost the overall productivity of the business.
7. TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS
Because sales managers are responsible for a variety of tasks, they need to have effective time management skills. Solid time management skills will allow you to:
- Prioritize activities.
- Maintain limits.
- Set aside time for certain tasks.
- Property plan out days.
If you can effectively manage your time, you will be able to maintain your productivity. Not only will organizing your day provide you with more time to get things done, but it will also make it easier for you to collaborate with other members of your team and increase the overall effectiveness of your operations.
Often a mark of a successful sales manager is running out of things to do on a daily basis. If you delegate, prioritize tasks, and organize your day well, you may find you have some extra time every day.
8. PROBLEM SOLVING SKILLS
As a sales manager, one of the most crucial skills is the ability to problem-solve when issues crop up. When difficulties are solved effectively, the sales team can carry out their duties without unnecessary difficulties.
Many sales reps are so focused on the sale that they are unable to find ways around certain obstacles or objections. All they see is a wall blocking the sale. A good sales manager will help them see that the wall is actually a boulder, and that there are ways around the issue. It’s your job as the sales manager to point out positive actions the reps can take in these situations.
Additionally, problem solving helps enhance the overall efficiency of the team as you manage to resolve the conflict.
9. MOTIVATION AND LEADERSHIP SKILLS
It’s essential to keep the team motivated toward the objectives they have set for themselves. You can do this by planning meetings, events, and team-building exercises that push individuals outside of their comfort zones.
In addition to this, encourage openness and transparency to help them recognize the difficulties and constraints associated with sales operations.
Each rep is going to respond best to a different type of motivation or tone. Knowing what motivates each rep, and knowing how to speak to them, can be the difference in developing a successful team.
Managing and guiding the sales team requires not only great leadership abilities but also an understanding of your function as a leader. To be an effective leader, you must motivate your team and give them better techniques and support. The ability to lead effectively also involves understanding your employees’ strengths and weaknesses.
A sales manager needs to have a resilient mindset when confronted with obstacles. If you have this ability, you will be able to look at every failure as a lesson or a chance to improve your skills.
Sales can be a rollercoaster. The team may close a lot of sales one day, and the next day everyone seems to have forgotten how to sell. A sales manager needs to be able to remain calm and focused through the ups and downs of the sales cycle.
In addition to this, being resilient helps you:
- Discover new approaches to enhance the sales procedure.
- Effectively allocate your resources.
- Inspire your team.
- Learn from your experience.
- Put what you’ve learned into practice.
The role of a sales manager comes with a broad variety of obligations. The most important of these is to motivate everyone in the department to cooperate effectively and contribute to the organization’s objectives.
Itching for more? Learn more with our Sales Team Starter.