6 Traits of Highly Successful Sales Managers

April 18, 2019    Comment off


The role of the sales manager has changed immeasurably in recent years as the industry constantly evolves. Sales approaches that worked in the past are no longer relevant and the way people buy is unrecognisable to even a few years ago.

As a result, the sales manager’s key task is to ensure they have the right people in their sales team. Having salespeople that are competitive and driven is essential to ensure your team hit their goals and crushes their numbers.

You also need staff that emanate trust, both from your customers and their fellow employees. A good work ethic and a strong team player are essential assets to any sales team. They also need to have the right skills, specifically in prospecting, qualifying and closing.

Successful sales manager characteristics

The best sales managers are relentless in their efforts to improve their sales teams. They dedicate time and effort into developing their employees’ skills and improving their weaknesses, and continually invest in coaching and development to hone their talents. They also create focused improvement plans, challenge team members to step outside of their comfort zones and provide new approaches and strategies that inspire employees to improve and grow.

However, a good sales manager doesn’t necessarily have to be the best sales rep in a team. Some just love the feeling of closing the deal and are a natural fit for the role. Others will have consistently hit their targets but a more important skill is to be able to explain how they did it. Consequently, when they make the step up, they’ll be capable of helping other people understand what works, what doesn’t work, and why.

The key to a successful sales manager is a solid seller that truly excels when given the responsibility of leading and imparting their wisdom to others.

Flexibility is key

A successful sales manager leads a team of people with different selling styles, varying abilities and personalities. They need to be able to motivate and encourage their team to not only meet and beat their goals but also overcome any challenges they face.

This is far from an easy task but, with the right approach, it’s more than achievable. With that in mind, here is our six-step guide to being a successful sales manager.

1. Be the master of change

The days of the uninformed customer who you could coax into closing a deal are long gone. The modern consumer is savvy and likely knows all the tricks in the sales book, so the sales manager needs to prepare their team for this ever-changing market.

The sales manager needs to help their team deal with uncontrollable and unpredictable changes in economics, technology and finances. They must teach them to navigate and adapt to this changing environment – which means becoming the master of change.

2. Be trustworthy

It’s vital that the sales manager commands the respect of their sales team, and that respect can only be earned through trust. They, therefore, need to lead by example, always be good to their word, honest and genuine. And remember, your team don’t pay attention to what you say, but what you do.

3. Be advisory

Providing timely, actionable feedback is crucial to encouraging sales teams to be as effective as possible. Every employee needs to be told they’ve done a good job from time to time, similarly they all need to face consequences if they miss their goals – otherwise, productivity will decline. Being able to provide objective feedback, praise and criticism are central to an outstanding sales manager.

4. Be enthusiastic

A salesforce will fire on all cylinders when employees are working at their effective, efficient and productive best. The sales manager is central to making this happen by building enthusiasm and motivating their team to succeed and hit achieve goals.

Ensuring peak morale levels is reliant on creating healthy competition among the team, offering incentives for hitting sales goals and building sales contests. A happy workforce delivers a profitable, high performing sales team.

5. Be available

Your average sales manager is typically ladened with paperwork, admin and strategy tasks. But the best sales managers always have time for their team members and are available as and when they are needed. Ensure you’re always available to answer your employees’ questions and help them overcome their challenges.

6. Be communicative

Communication is a vital skill for any successful sales manager. Cultivating a culture of openness and honesty will create trusting relationships and, ultimately, set you up for success. Knowing how to communicate with your team will enable you to provide guidance and coaching and is a must-have for any sales manager.

As the best-selling book puts it: Those who can, teach. A successful sales manager needs to not only be able to lead and impart their knowledge but actively enjoy the successes that this brings. Anyone can learn to teach — it’s the desire to do so that matters.