A great sales manager can have incredible influence in your organization, not just as a leader of your sales reps but also as a team player with fruitful ideas and success-promoting habits. Whether you're seeking to hire a great sales manager or become a great sales manager yourself, focusing on the following traits will help you to achieve your goals.
Great Sales Managers are Goal-Setters
Great sales managers not only set challenging, achievable goals for themselves, but they also teach their sales teams how to set and reach goals. By modeling goal-setting and providing the tools and resources for sales reps to achieve personal goals, sales managers help their companies increase their bottom lines, and they also help sales reps to turns their "jobs" into "careers."
One of the biggest reasons that sales teams experience high turnover rates is that their reps become dissatisfied with their jobs or feel stagnant in their careers. Setting measurable goals and achieving them is a sure way to recognize career growth, and a great sales manager will help sales reps to do this.
Weekly or bi-weekly meetings with sales reps can be used to monitor progress towards goals and to set new goals. These meetings can also be used to coach sales reps and encourage them to develop their skills.
Great Sales Managers are Good Listeners
Listening is an important skill to develop as a sales person, but it's even more important as a sales manager. A great sales manager will listen not only to clients, customers, and executives, but also to sales reps.
Some of the best ideas for prospecting, marketing, closing sales, and building customer relationships come from sales reps because they're the ones who are out in the trenches day in and day out. A great sales manager will listen carefully to their ideas and incorporate them into team training meetings, schedule development, and web content materials.
A sales manager who ignores feedback and only trusts his or her own judgment will find that things don't go as well. Sales team members feel unappreciated, and the synergistic energy that motivates a team is neglected and lost.
Great Sales Managers Follow Up Diligently
Listening and setting goals is great, but if you fail to follow up, all of that work is for naught. A great sales manager follow up with sales reps when they make goals, but that's not all. Following up also involves these habits:
- Promptly returning phone calls, emails, and text messages
- Sending out agendas for meetings and then sticking to the agendas during the meetings
- Checking in with sales reps to ask if they have questions about assignments
- Taking the time to review goals and assignments to find out what worked well and what could be improved next time
- Replying to feedback from sales reps, customers, clients, and coworkers
These habits not only help a sales team to feel organized and productive, but they also set a great example for future sales managers.
These three traits--goal-setting, listening carefully, and following up diligently--will help you to become (or to hire) a great sales manager. With a great sales manager at the helm of your sales team, your sales reps will be happier, more productive, and more determined to succeed.