3 Skills to Be a Successful Sales Manager
1) Be a Coach
Think of yourself as a coach and the reps as the team. Are you barking sales numbers at them or are you taking an interest in how they can individually succeed? Try to find out what makes them tick. What incentivizes them to do better? Is it a bonus? Or is it public recognition of a good job? Be supportive, let your reps you know you’re on their side to build confidence in them and in the team.
Coaches often think about the entire season or the player’s full career, not just the one practice or game. Are you doing the same with your reps? It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture when you get caught up in the day-to-day tasks that need to get done. Make time to chat with your reps about their short and long-term career goals to see how you can work together to achieve them.
Build on the team mentality. Drive home the idea that you build up one another’s successes, encouraging reps to pull up struggling reps with an “assist” when needed.
2) Lead by Example
Remember the golden rule? Treat others the way you’d like to be treated. While we all first learned this in kindergarten, the principle still holds true.
Be the sales manager you’ve always wanted. Show your team what it’s like to be a good manager, so they can reciprocate and be a good team member.
Do you want your reps to be engaging and go the extra mile for their customers? Lead by example by going the extra mile for them or in your own business interactions. Again, this enforces that you’re on their side and the team wins when everyone works together.
3) Communicate Clearly
While it’s important to say you have your rep’s best interests in mind, it’s more important to show it day in and day out. How do you do this? You communicate effectively.
Do you clearly define their sales goals at the start of every quarter? Even if you’ve verbally spoken about goals in a quarter review, it is important to have everything documented on paper so there is no confusion about what the expectations are for the quarter.
In addition to quarterly reviews, do you set up one-on-one check-ins with your reps? These can be informal, but important to identify what’s working and what’s not before things escalate. Open these informal check-ins to your team, so reps have a forum to share successes and seek advice for pain points they’re encountering. An open dialogue can help reps across the spectrum and reinforce the team metaphor.
Are your reps up to date on product offerings and business rules? Schedule quarterly trainings to highlight new and retired products, new business rules, or changed branding. Equip reps with the tools they need to be successful not just during trainings, but also in the field. Having marketing materials and sales sheet readily at their fingerprints on an iPad, like our Spotlight Sales App, will empower the team to be more confident when meeting with customers. The Spotlight sales app houses all your product data and training information in one place so even when you can’t be there to manage them, they have everything they need to be successful.
Be the sales coach your team needs you to be to boost morale and knock sales goals out of the park. A successful sales manager takes interest in each of their reps, leads by example, and communicates effectively. There are many other qualities and skills that are important to have to be an effective leader. Take it upon yourself to know what works for your team and make changes necessary for the entire team to be successful.