What it takes to be a great sales manager
A great number of articles in the recent press publications discuss the idea of great sales managers. They all focus on listing tips, solutions and methods to use in order to become a successful sales manager. Being a sales manager implies having great responsibilities like making sure the team they lead is reaching the daily, weekly, monthly and yearly targets. Along with this responsibility, they have the moral obligation to coach and motivate every member of the team, as well as possessing the knowledge on ways to develop the business and execute successful sales strategies.
Graham Scrivener writes in his article, How to be a successful sales manager, about three main areas on which a sales manager must focus in order to achieve the desired results:
- Help the team to focus upstream
- Coach and motivate
- Plan and deliver
These concepts are not as strange to us as they may seem, as performance management deals with these at all time. Let’s try and discuss the points Scrivener makes. First of all, the first point focuses mainly on the team as a whole. It is crucial as a team leader to help the team gain a vision, a target. A good leader will always work with the team and lead it towards high levels of performance. A reachable target is always good for the morale of the team and reaching it creates great advantages for future work.
Secondly, a good sales manager acts like a coach and a motivator. Why this idea? Mainly because of the structure of the team; the leader has the responsibility to train the members of the team, as well as give them real reasons why they should work harder and better. In order to achieve great results, it is important to have a goal to focus on and powerful reasons on which to set the basis for the effort you are making.
The third point is as simple as it can get: a successful sales manager is in charge of planning effective sales strategies and delivering them properly. This should become a criteria in selecting candidates for the position of sales managers, as the results of their activity strictly depends on this ability. Planning a strategy according to your team’s need and skills is much more efficient than one that does not take this aspects into account. Always plan keeping in mind all the factors that contribute to the establishment of the respective strategy and the possible consequences it may bring.
An essential possession of a successful sales manager consists in inspiring trust, not only to clients, but also to the team they are in charge of. And this is mainly linked to the third point that Scrivener makes, about planning and delivering. Consideration is fundamental in the relation between leaders and their team; one must keep in mind the fact that the work is done by humans who may face personal problems at some point. Transparency, fairness and consistency are also very important in the process of gaining trust.
“Praise in public, but criticize in private”, as we read in an article on the subject on Sales Force. Training and Consulting website. Never let your emotions shadow the objectivity characteristic to a great leader. Treat everyone the same and acknowledge their success every time they achieve it. That is what makes a successful sales manager and a great leader as well.
- Christie, M. (2012), 9 tips for becoming a great sales manager, Sales Force Training and Consulting
- Scrivener, G. (2013), How to be a successful sales manager, The Guardian Online
- Pease, P. (2012), The ten laws of successful sales management, The Pease Group