8 Most Important Skills for a Sales Manager

As a sales manager, you are responsible for creating results by motivating your team to perform. Master these 8 skills to get become a great sales manager.
How To Be A Successful Sales Manager

A good sales manager is a driving force behind the sales organisation’s success. While the profession is highly rewarding, it is also a very stressful and demanding job role. In a survey by PayScale, an online career database, this career role was ranked second amongst the most stressful jobs, with 73% of the participants rating it as highly stressful. 

Managers need to inspire their teams, convert quickly, and meet their quotas. To be a successful sales manager, you need to have a very particular personality with the right strengths, skills, and characteristics. Sales managers are responsible for leading and coaching salespeople, setting their goals, hiring new salespeople, building sales plans, and analysing their performances. 

To ensure a rewarding and successful career as a sales manager, you need to hone some important skills. 

Important Skills for a Sales Manager

Being a sales manager is not as simple as it looks; this role is packed with many challenges along with opportunities. A great sales manager needs to be balanced in all the qualities – from being a good communicator to a good guide, from being a good team player or leader to a problem solver. The following are some of the skills that a good sales manager should possess:

1. A Great Communicator

To succeed in any environment or field, it is very important to be able to communicate your ideas and thoughts. Communication goes a long way because being in the sales field and not able to communicate your ideas properly might not allow you to achieve your targets. For a sales manager, the responsibility gets doubled; you can’t just look after your work but also look for the team as well and manage the work accordingly. If the team is not working properly, the sales manager needs to step up and communicate with the salespeople.

2. Motivate and be the Role Model

The second aspect of being a good sales manager is to be able to motivate team members. The sales team constantly needs the push to work efficiently. They constantly face rejection from clients and can easily get demotivated. In such a competitive environment, the sales manager needs to stay motivated and motivate his own team. They should motivate their team to maximise their potential. For this, the sales manager needs to implant a sense of purpose and belief in each member of the team that they are solving their customers’ problems, satisfying their needs, and meeting their requirements.

3. Lead and Manage the Team

The ability to motivate, inspire, and communicate effectively are the trademarks of leadership. With these foundations in place, a sales manager earns respect and is viewed as a great leader. The ability to lead is different from the ability to manage. The ability to manage the sales team, sales functions, and daily sales operations is a sales manager’s major skill. Management requires accountability and oversight. It also needs important skills that encourage, empower, and support the sales team. Management skills are the baseline of this job role. If a sales manager is unable to use the tools and the team at his/her disposal effectively to manage sales, the rest of the skills don’t matter.

4. Promotes a Positive Work Culture

The productivity of the sales team depends on the environment they work in. Sales teams include individuals with different talents and personalities. When the chemistry in the team is right, the environment is sound. If there is a clash between the members, it affects the team’s morale and acts as a poison for the work environment. The team won’t be able to perform to their full potential. An intelligent sales manager sees the early warning signs and acts to resolve the problem, even if it requires removing a person responsible for disrupting the team.

5. Unbiased and Caring

A sales manager has the responsibility to generate revenue for the company. The stress can become unmanageable, and in that environment, only a good manager can work with full resilience and care for the employees. Sometimes, a manager can become a good friend of their employee, but in that condition, the manager needs to maintain the work ethics and be unbiased and not favour their friends. It can often be tough identifying where the line lies, but the best sales managers know how to balance the professional and personal sides of their relationships with their team.

6. Make a Good Team

A good sales manager can only perform well if he has the support of a good sales team. A person must be able to build a team with full responsibility. The first step is to hire responsible people for the whole process and people with sales skills, with a zeal to work honestly and smartly at the same time. Once in seat, then begins the process of refining salespeople, so sales managers should arrange training sessions for their new hires.

7. Setting the Right Goals

The sales manager needs to be able to set the goals that are feasible and achievable. The goals should be for both the long and short term. Setting a long-term target to be completed in a short time is not a smart move, and it shows a lack of vision on the manager’s part. The sales manager should set the right goals for himself and the team that both meet the business’ requirements and also challenge the salesperson to learn and earn at the same time. 

8. Open to Suggestions

Being open to the suggestion is a great quality when it comes to managing a team. A sales department is the core, and being open to suggestions will make room for improvements and new strategies, leading to improved results. A sales manager should be open to suggestions from his team and consider them before defining the sales strategy. 

Every good leader is part manager, and every good manager is part leader.

Condoleezza Rice

These are the traits of a sales manager to balance, manage, and lead the team with full enthusiasm. A sales manager is also a human, so there is always room for growth and improvement with all these traits.

Dan Storey
Dan Storey is the author of Next Level Persuasion. Having trained thousands of salespeople across the world in NLP and Persuasion, Dan is experienced at bringing the essential tools and techniques from neuro-linguistic programming and psychology and teaching them in a business context that can be immediately applied in a sales context. Dan also regularly contributes to his personal blog at DanStorey.com and also recently completed his MSc in Behavioural Psychology to gain even more insight into how we make decisions and can be influenced.