Being a good sales manager is critical to the success of your team. Your own performance helps set the tone and culture within the sales team.
Good sales managers are able to get their team firing on all cylinders. Here are 5 qualities you need to have to not only manage but lead your team to sales glory.
Strategic thinking and goal setting
Do you think strategically?
Strategic thinking helps managers provide clear, logical directions and expectations to their team – what actions they should be taking what specifically what is expected from them. This needs to be thought of at an individual and collection level, all of which should tie in with the business’s goals.
Logical thinking and being upfront about goals and expectations means your team can be held accountable for if and when they achieve or fail targets. Strategic goal setting also helps when it comes to rewarding those who have achieved their expectations or gone the extra mile. Use SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) criteria, or similar, to come up with logical expectations. Equally important is involving your team so you get buy-in to the vision earlier, rather than simply dump goals and expectations on them.
Act like a coach
As a manager, you should be an expert on what products and processes you offer and have in place. Being able to pass that information down to your team is a vital skill to have. Doing so empowers your team to make better decisions and have better sales conversations. Plus, being a role model will inspire your team with confidence.
Coaching your team shows them leadership and commitment. Mix it up with group coaching and more personalised 1-1 coaching sessions. Take into account each salesperson’s requirements, skills and needs. That shows understanding and commitment, as well as providing actionable support to each individual. Providing guidance, feedback, role play and advice is a difficult balancing act but an important skill to master. Nailing it will improve staff confidence and performance.
It’s a basic but often overlooked skill… Communication skills are fundamental to any management role. Why? Because it fosters good relationships and a dynamic exchange of information. That could be advice, suggestions, feedback and more. Without good communication skills, it’s hard to motivate and understand your sales team. Use this skill to demonstrate creativity, proactivity and initiative. If you are a more naturally introvert manager, see it as a chance to improve your own skills by going on courses about communicating with and motivating your team. Communication skills help outline what is expected from each individual in your team and is also important when it comes to recruiting the right talent and identifying business opportunities. Work on how to articulate yourself and communicate clearly.
Lead by example
Leadership falls into most of these qualities, but it really is a core skill of an effective sales manager. It underpins everything you do and is a massive driving force in helping your team hit their targets, growing individually, build a good work atmosphere and learn new techniques. Keep a thirst for more knowledge and improvements, continually look to optimise areas of the business (processes, training, etc), show your team how it should be done, and focus on inspiring confidence. A poor leader breeds poor performance.
Encourage professional development
You should advocate and support professional development. While a lot of attention goes to targets, pipelines and so on, it’s easy to forget about improving your staff. Empower your sales team to grow and become better. Allocate specific time to courses and training and do what you can to encourage your team to continually develop themselves.
Becoming a more effective sales manager involves a lot of understanding of the people who work for you better. Doing so will help you empower them, improve team productivity and establish a healthy culture.