How to Become a Better Sales Manager

Stepping into a sales management role is an exciting experience. However, many professional salespeople are surprised to discover just how different the management position is from being on the floor. Sales experience is invaluable, but planning, forecasting, and analyzing are a completely different set of skills.

Here are some practical tips to help you become a better sales manager and thrive in this role.

Analyze the Data

A lot of the sales process comes down to cultivating relationships and following instincts. In a sales management position, the priorities shift. It’s crucial to nourish employee relationships, but decisions should be data-driven and analytical.

Implementing a KPIs management system that makes it easy to see what’s happening and analyze the data is essential for success as a sales manager. This data can help you better understand what’s happening in the sales pipeline and what your team is doing.

Having this information readily available will help you be proactive in dealing with bottlenecks and identifying potential friction points. Experience and instincts will help you make the right decisions as a sales manager, but the data will present the most viable options for your consideration.

Coach Your Team

Creating a coaching relationship with your team will empower them to expand their skills and become better salespeople. This essential consideration is often overlooked by sales managers.

Set aside time each week for a quick one-on-one to update ongoing deals, work through problems, and discuss goals. Become a resource for your people so they feel comfortable coming to you with challenges. The happier and more engaged they are, the better their performance. Better performance on the sales floor means better profitability, job security, and success.

Celebrate the Effort

Celebrating the wins and achievements is necessary, but it’s also meaningful to honor the effort. Recognition is one of the most powerful contributors to employee retention and productivity. As sales are contingent on many external factors beyond performance, celebrating small wins and hard work has a significant impact.

Recognition and rewards can also be powerful motivators for sales staff. Keeping your team energized and motivated during challenging times is one of your top priorities as a sales manager; use this to leverage performance.

Play an Active Role in Recruiting

Treat employee recruiting like a sales effort. Make time in your schedule to network and connect with top-performing salespeople in your area. Work on those relationships so that you have a rapport when a position opens on your team.

If your company has a standardized hiring process, talk to HR to figure out how you can take a more active role when hiring for your team. As the sales manager, you’ll have the best insight into who will fit and perform well.

One caveat to consider: don’t make the mistake of hiring salespeople that emulate your approach. Create dimension and diversity in the team to garner versatile perspectives, approaches, and opinions. Your team will be better for it.

Create Systems and Processes

Sales managers need strong time management skills. Creating systems and processes will help you balance your work and that of your team. Work with your team to understand the obstacles they face and the tools they require to succeed.

Remember, your role is to lead and support your team— their success is your success. Be a mentor and a resource while prioritizing continuous improvement to become an exceptional sales manager.


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