Regardless of whether you’re beginning the hiring process, are looking to be employed as a sales manager yourself – or just want to ensure you’re on the right track to becoming a great sales manager – you’re in the right place. References, a well-crafted curriculum vitae and reputation can only take you so far when determining whether you or your candidates have the right capabilities for the job. That’s why below, you’ll discover the 11 must-have qualities all great sales managers share. Let’s jump in!
- Emotional Intelligence
- Active Listening Skills
- Ability To Forecast
- Analytically & Strategically Visioned
- Ability To Coach
What does a sales manager do?
Sales Managers are responsible for identifying new business opportunities, developing sales strategies and setting sales targets for their teams. They also help sales leaders to take the helm of the organisation by guiding, growing, and inspiring teams of salespeople. Which in general means they’re directly involved in increasing motivation and morale alongside the hiring and firing process.
Also read: 8 Essential Sales Training Programs For Managers & Leaders In 2022
What’s the difference between a leader and a manager?
Sales managers ensure all sales team members and departments are on the same page regarding goals, products, strategies and motivation. In comparison, sales leaders guide the team towards a vision and help to create the momentum needed to achieve it.
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What skills should a sales manager have?
While it seems natural for the best-performing salespeople to become promoted to the position of sales managers. Many sales managers struggle because they lack the knowledge, skills, and abilities to support their sales teams as they should fully. That’s because a great salesperson does not always equal a great sales manager. In fact, great sales managers aren’t just born – they’re grown, developed and honed by focusing on these 11 must-have qualities…
11 Must-Have Qualities of A Great Sales Manager
1. Emotional Intelligence
All great sales managers have an abundance of emotional intelligence (EQ or EI) which means they can recognise emotions, understand what they’re telling them, and how they can affect others.
However, empathy isn’t just about understanding how people feel. It helps you make better predictions, improve strategies, and increase creativity amongst your team while inspiring loyalty.
That’s why great sales managers know that the individuals on their team have different personalities, needs and desires. More so, they know that everyone has their way of showing their emotions and can use this knowledge to create and direct positive outcomes for their team.
The individuals of any given sales team will not be the same; they’ll have different skills sets and levels of experience. You often find sales professionals with years of experience working with fresh and ambitious graduates, which is precisely why great sales managers can adapt their leadership style to motivate sellers depending on who they’re talking to.
3. Active Listeners
A great sales manager always operates an open-door policy, and as a result, they are constantly on the pulse of their teams’ success and challenges. They value team feedback and can often find the story behind the message. In other words – the opportunity beyond the issue.
4. Ability To Forecast
Sales forecasting is the key to sales management success because it helps inform essential business decisions like hiring, pricing, production quantity, and investors. Great sales managers can accurately project their sales teams’ numbers – regardless of how they choose to forecast; however, this will depend on their seniority level.
5. Innovative Thinkers
Average sales managers have a good understanding of traditional business thinking, but great sales managers possess the power of innovative thinking. As a result, great sales managers are often visionaries who bring ideas to life by motivating others to fulfil them.
Great sales managers realise that their sales teams constantly look to them for guidance. For this reason, they never take advantage of their position, instead choosing to perform to the best of their ability and expecting the same from their sales reps. After all, if you say what you mean and do what you say – there’s no better way to earn respect.
During a sales slump or slow quarter, sales teams must look to managers for answers and, more importantly, motivation. That’s why all great sales managers are naturally confident and have an unwaveringly positive attitude that reflects onto sales reps – even in times of distress. You’ll often find the very best sales managers cool, collected and focused on the task on hand and expect the sales team to follow their suit.
8. Ability To Coach
Instead of confronting an underperforming sales professional and offering advice on improving, great sales leaders let sales reps discover the answers themselves by helping them think for themselves. This coaching approach encourages the seller to strive harder to make the necessary changes everyone wants.
Great sales managers recognise that mindset, attitude and encouragement go a long way; however, they also know that to help their team take the right path – they have to help them develop the necessary skills for success. As a result, great sales managers motivate sales teams to work harder while offering valuable feedback that pushes every sales rep to seek the same greatness.
A sales manager’s role is often earned through years of experience, achieved by working their way up by failing and learning from experiences. As a result, sales managers are usually followed and looked upon for guidance by their sales team. That’s why all great sales managers have a wealth of experience, as it allows their team and organisation to trust their instinct and authority.
Possessing a profoundly analytical mindset supports innovative thinking, which is why great sales managers can establish solid plans, set metrics, and use data to inform future business decisions. Not only that, but sales managers with an analytical mindset also guide their teams to identify opportunities while understanding what motivates potential clients – a perfect recipe for success.
Also read: Hiring Salespeople: How To Find, Hire & Retain Top Performing Reps
Great sales managers know how to focus on priority issues without being distracted by local or external distractions that often affect performance and progress. Focus is an essential quality for a sales manager as the role requires the individual to juggle several tasks at once while minimising impulsive and negative decisions.
All great sales managers possess gravitas. In other words, they’re able to produce an air of dignity, importance, restraint and moral rigour by showing a sense of responsibility and commitment to a task. As a result, sales teams are more likely to trust these sales managers and will eagerly listen to their feedback and guidance.
Discover how to deliver consistent results.
Sales teams have to be highly motivated, take on challenges with eagerness, and consistently exceed expectations to be successful. SOCO’s® Management Mastery Training supports managers in developing the skills they need to bring out the best of their team, whether they’re working in the office, at home, or in a blended environment