A good sales manager will have certain qualities and skills that sometimes differ greatly from those of a sales rep. And because of this a great sales rep will not automatically make a good sales manager. The qualities of the two vary in many ways. Although sales is primarily based on communication skills, something that both a sales rep and sales manager should have, not everyone has the management skills required to guide a team to success.
A sales manager may not have a knack for executing a sales technique, like a sales rep would, but they will have great organizational skills and the ability to create a plan of action. The successful management of a team is based on understanding strategies and techniques, and having the ability to motivate others to do what is necessary.
Motivates the Team
The best sales manager will take ownership of the company’s mission and values, aligning himself or herself in a way that motivates the team and leads them to accomplishment. A good sales manager will listen to the team and encourage their feedback, realizing that the sales team has valuable insight into customers needs and interests. When the manager is a strong leader, the sales team will feel valued and respected, which is generally a strong motivator in achieving goals.
Another aspect of mastering motivation is the ability to build relationships with the team as a whole as well as knowing each person individually. Knowing how to identify what motivates each person will provide insight as to how to build him or her up and even provide redirection when necessary. Showing empathy and appreciation is a necessity for a good sales manager as well. Team members appreciate being recognized for a job well done and it doesn’t always have to come in the form of money. For example, if the team environment is light hearted then silly trophies or other forms of recognition can be great morale boosters.
A good sales manager will have full trust in his or her team so the need for micromanaging would never be an issue. Micromanaging the sales team will not encourage them to increase sales, and may in fact result in the opposite. Micromanaging occurs when the sales manager lacks confidence that employees are capable of doing the job, and thus feels the need to watch over shoulders.
A strong sales team is one that has a clear understanding of what is expected, is equipped with the tools necessary in order to do what is expected, has received appropriate training and knows the goals and timelines for meeting goals. Salespeople are generally independent and having someone monitoring or questioning every move will deter motivation and only create frustration and unhappiness. Micromanagement can be portrayed as a lack of trust and eventually sales team performance will falter. The ideal approach is in taking action to address shortcomings so issues can be resolved. Knowing each person on the team will increase loyalty and is just as important as recognizing the traits and skills needed as new team members are hired.
Invest in Your People
Being familiar with human resource skills is advantageous regardless of the direct involvement of the sales manager in the hiring and firing process. A successful sales manager will know the skillset and qualities to look for in candidates, as well as having the ability to confidently ask candidates questions during the interviews. This will facilitate an accurate assessment of skills. Perhaps more important than properly assessing skills the cultural compatibility.
Communication Skills Are Always Crucial
Communication skills are important across the board. As a sales manager, it is crucial you are able to communicate goals and objectives to your team, as well as having the ability to listen. These skills are also important in conversations with upper management or owners. On occasion upper management sets unrealistic goals or expectations, generally due to their unfamiliarity with everything involved in sales. In such situations, it is crucial the sales manager has the communication skills to convey the issues at hand and be the liaison between upper management and the sales team.
A loyal sales team will remain loyal when they know the sales manager will stand up for them, when necessary. The ideal sales manager will have the ability to see the big picture, regardless of the company size. The sales manager is constantly involved in the roles of communications, motivation and managing progress; making changes whenever necessary. A strong sales team is created by strong leadership skills of the sales manager. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it.