Being a successful sales manager certainly means leading a team that converts many prospects into customers. But that isn’t all it entails. What qualities and skills do you need to build the foundation that facilitates this kind of success?
High-growth organizations understand that sales managers do far more than oversee sales operations. The position itself consists of a series of micro-roles, each just as important as the last. In 2022 and heading into 2023, it’s not enough to be a subject matter expert in sales to be a winning sales manager. You must also possess several important leadership qualities that set up your team members for success.
So what roles will you, as a sales manager, need to embody to put your team in the optimal position? Let’s look at several hats you’ll need to wear to enable your team to close more sales and grow in their positions.
Experienced sales managers understand that their team’s ultimate success is their responsibility. Sales managers want to know how their team members work and how best to motivate and support them.
While every team member is different, sales managers can be consistent in the tools and resources they provide their entire team. By giving them the guidance they need and the technical tools required to do their job, they’ll make it much easier for their salespeople to stay motivated.
The best way to show that support is by identifying the right tools and applications for your sales team’s business needs, then providing them to your sales team. Many view motivation as a collection of platitudes, but the truth is much more complicated. Your sales team will remain motivated if they feel heard and supported, and the right management approach can create an environment in which they feel both.
Being an effective sales leader in 2022 and beyond requires confronting the reality of the workplace: top candidates have never been more selective. Talent retention will continue to be an issue for all departments going forward, including sales. It’s up to sales managers to identify strategies to keep their sales team members fulfilled and satisfied in their career paths.
One method for maintaining teams with high workplace satisfaction levels is by providing them with infrastructure – hands-on coaching, learning opportunities, and metrics they can use to gauge their performance and understand what goals they’re working toward.
If your sales team doesn’t have opportunities to learn, they may view the position or your organization as one that leads to stagnation. They won’t see your team as a chance for growth. Having a sales manager who equips them with the knowledge and platform they need to continue evolving and building their skill set will keep them with your team performing at a high level.
Depending on how your organization is structured, you may have a seat at your company’s C-Suite table. If not, you may have a supervisor or manager connected to it. As the sales manager, you must stress the importance of your team’s work to your organization’s leadership structure.
That requires being an evangelist for the importance of the work you do, as well as highlighting your team’s wins. So how can you do this? By producing clear reports to leadership detailing your team’s success with quantifiable metrics.
If you don’t fight for your team, who will? You’ll want to advocate for the sales team within the internal organization. Your advocacy will pay off when it’s time to build the budget or determine what resources each department needs. Showing your team’s effectiveness while demonstrating how additional funding or resources will bolster their efforts strengthens your position within the company.
An effective salesperson involves learning the proper techniques and best practices for prospect engagement. It also involves having comprehensive knowledge of the product or service. Salespeople need to be able to answer any customer objections while being subject matter experts in their field.
Sales training isn’t just about mastering awareness of the product, however. It also deals with adding necessary skill sets as the market evolves. If your sales team should leverage a new technique or tool to close more sales, you’ll want to stay on top of that with targeted training your team will retain.
Staying on top of the various sales training your team needs is essential, and it’s still rather challenging. Sales leaders often experience issues, particularly in larger organizations, when they have large teams with varying individual needs. Providing adequate one-on-one assessments customized to each team member is much more complex.
That said, for high-growth companies with remote teams in disparate locations, this robust approach to training is necessary. That’s why the best sales managers opt to equip themselves with versatile training platforms that handle the actual training rather than perform it independently.
Referring to yourself as a data analyst may be overstating your relationship with data just a bit, as you don’t have to be a data expert per se. But you should embrace the usage of data in developing your team.
Confronting your team’s data and how it relates to your KPIs is one of the only ways to gauge how successful you’re performing accurately. A lack of willingness to view, analyze, and evaluate your data leads to a team that cannot determine whether it’s improving or lagging.
Embrace the use of tools that encourage data analysis. You may not be a data expert, but you don’t have to be. By leaning into your team’s reliance on data, you’re establishing your team as one that regularly measures itself and identifies how to improve.
Your sales team wants to work for someone who values their career trajectory and growth.
Yes, you want to keep good people as a part of your team for as long as possible. But your role as a sales manager involves more than just driving sales. It also consists in building a cohesive team that believes in your leadership. Advising your team members on the best steps to take in their career – even if that path may lead them to a promotion or even another company away from you – is necessary to building a supportive culture that values its people above all else.
Let’s say you have a top performer in your role. By giving them opportunities to upskill and network within your company, you’ll help them potentially advance. Your other team members will appreciate this. In the short term, you may lose a top performer. But the rest of your team members will be ready to excel for you. And you can highlight this when recruiting other top-performing candidates.
By pushing your team to grow and develop in ways that benefit them, first and foremost, you’ll build a culture in which you value your team members. In turn, they’ll respect you as well. That will reflect in their performance.
Your sales team leads your prospects through the buyer’s journey. That involves telling a story with your prospect at the center as the hero. Your product or service should be the catalyst for success.
Your sales team can be creative in leading your prospect through the journey. In many cases, they’ll do so with the assistance of materials produced by your marketing department. Sometimes, they’ll need to rely on sales skills in one-on-one conversations to drive the prospect to action. Whatever their chosen methods for moving the prospect through the various stages, you’ll want to play an active role in shaping how the process looks.
Equipping your sales team with creative solutions for persuading prospects is another of your duties as the sales manager. This puts you front and center as a de facto creative director or storyteller, evaluating which content or approaches can help drive more sales at different parts of the journey. Your sales team will look to you to understand what methods and mechanisms work best – be ready to advise them accordingly.
Being a Great Sales Manager Involves More Than Sound Sales Skills
As a sales manager, should you have a deep understanding of sales terminology, best practices, and techniques? Absolutely. But don’t shortchange the other skills you’ll need to master.
The major challenge many sales managers run into is how difficult it is to be effective in all these roles simultaneously. It’s not enough to just lead a team. You also have to weigh your members’ needs while educating them on all aspects of sales.
You’ll want your company to partner with a proven AI-based sales training platform. This gives your team the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in their roles while giving you the ability to monitor and track their progress. Think of the sales training platform as an extension of your various sales manager roles.
The best platform for this purpose is Quantified. This AI-powered coaching platform will help you automate your sales training, freeing you up to focus on the numerous roles you’ll need to fill as a sales manager. Contact us today for more on how Quantified can help your sales team close more sales.