A sales manager has the responsibility of getting products sold by managing their sales team and setting sales strategies. With many sales managers promoted from the ranks of the sales team for their personal sales performance with little experience in management many find there is a significant learning curve before they can call themselves a great sales manager.
Despite this, any person who has excelled in sales has a strong grounding to become a great sales manager - the same work ethic, strong interpersonal skills and aptitude for sales are all qualities that can help you lead your team to greater sales success. Below we've picked out three specific points to work on that will help you become a great sales manager:
1. A great sales manager is also a leader
While your job title might state you are a sales manager you also want to be a sales leader. A manager will attempt to get the best out of their staff by setting deadlines, managing tasks and generally organizing their team. This is important in a sales team because there are processes to be followed that are there for a reason - they work! However, a manager won't get the best out of everyone - for that you need to be a leader.
A leader will motivate and inspire their team to higher levels of performance - people in your team will perform better because they want to do well for you. A leader focuses on the people not the tasks - helping each person individually to perform as best they can. While some people seem to be 'born leaders' this doesn't mean someone who isn't cannot learn how to lead well - it just takes a bit more work.
2. A great sales manager hires well
When a salesperson is promoted to sales manager, one of the toughest tasks is recognizing that your successes are based on the performance of others and not just yourself. One of the most important tasks then is choosing who you are going to rely on to help you and your team succeed.
Hiring the best people for your sales team will cost money up front but you'll save both time and money by minimizing the amount of time you need to spend training new hires before they can get started. A team of people who can manage their own responsibilities, act professionally around other staff and clients and be relied upon to sell well will also save you a huge amount of energy you'd need to spend firefighting with worse performing hires. When you have a great sales team, you can quickly achieve like a great sales manager and make it look easy.
3. A great sales manager knows when to ask for help
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength and ambition. People with coaches do significantly better than people without coaches in almost all walks of life, including business. To get a step up on your peers find yourself a mentor who has experience in your field and learn everything you can from them. If you can't find a mentor then simply find someone you admire who has written about sales or business, read every book they've written and watch every video they've produced. You don't need to know someone in real life to learn from him or her.
A great sales manager never stops learning and a great sales manager never stops trying to improve their skills. Work on each of these three areas and you'll reap the rewards as your team continues to improve and perform beyond your imagination.