What makes a great sales manager? Just because they have been a great sales person, doesn’t mean they will necessarily make a good manager. Sales management is not just about generating future sales. It’s about hiring the right people, setting the sales strategy, motivating and coaching the team to ensure they achieve their target and helping them when they don’t. It’s about setting an example and creating a positive workspace for all team members.
Here are 5 Tips to great sales management:
1. Hire the Right Team
The first role of a sales manager is to hire the right team. It’s not always about hiring the person with the best track record, often the person with the right attitude (who you may need to train) will be your star performer. The important thing as a sales manager is to see potential and build your team with the right mix of skills and attitude in relation to the role they will undertake.
2. Set Realistic Strategy, Goals and Encourage Success
The strategy of your team needs to complement with wider organisation strategy. Does your team know what this is? Do they understand their part in both a team and as individuals? The next stage is setting goals, both for the team and individuals. However, are they being set realistically? Goals that are too easy to complete will not encourage employees to strive, and goals that are too difficult to reach will prevent employees from enjoying their roles and often make them switch off completely. A good sales manager will be able to appropriately assign tasks for employees that will push them to succeed, whilst not being impossible to achieve. A great sales manager will be able to inspire employees and motivate them towards completing goals and tasks. This may include training and coaching.
3. Communicate Effectively
Although communication is key for sales, everyone has their own way of understanding each other, as well as individual learning styles. A good sales manager will know their employees’ preferences and how to communicate with each individual effectively, making sure they can communicate in the way they need and respond in the correct way, so everyone is able to understand tasks. Another thing to consider is regular feedback. As a sales manager you need to be able to offer feedback to encourage growth and help aid improvement. Feedback shouldn’t just be at annual appraisal or when things are wrong. Good sales managers observe their team regularly and give instant relevant feedback. Also think about how you communicate with your team. Hold regular team meetings and mix up one to one communication between face to face, virtual, WhatsApp, email etc. The key is keeping in constant contact so you know how they are doing and they know you are available when needed.
4. Solve Problems and Embrace Change
Having the ability to solve problems effectively is a key skill of a sales manager. A good sales manager will have a plan and will regularly review that plan to eliminate any disruptions or problems. The ability to change focus is key as a sales manager – whether that is internal, staff, product or market issues. Overcoming obstacles quickly and being able to embrace change, benefits the whole team, as well as increases productivity and job satisfaction in the workspace. The sales manager should be known as a facilitator of change and the go to person when you have a problem.
5. Lead from the Front
Finally, being a good sales manager means being able to lead a team successfully! You can’t do this from a behind a desk! Nor can you do this is you have a full portfolio of clients yourself! You need to be involved in your team on a day-to-day basis. Building rapport, assigning tasks to the right people, managing and solving problems, communicating, checking deadline and goals, giving feedback so everyone can work together to achieve success.