3 Ways to Become a Better Sales Manager

Become a Better Sales Manager

If you want to become a better sales manager, you must first understand your success is now based upon the success of your team, not your individual ability to win opportunities, impress clients or close deals – the stuff that probably got you the promotion in the first place.

As a sales manager, you are now in a leadership role in charge of leading a sales team. The only way you can be successful is if your sales team is successful.  To become a better sales manager, you must leverage the strengths of each individual salesperson in a way that makes the team thrive by having a clear sales strategy, setting clear success metrics, defining clear roles and responsibilities, following a consistent sales process and putting a sales coaching process in place.

Secondly, too many salespeople move into a management role mistakenly thinking they must lead every person the way they themselves would like to be led. In reality the situational leadership experts have it right, and nothing could be further from the truth. Great sales managers know each person on their team is different and, therefore, manage accordingly to each person’s unique situation.

Unfortunately, too many sales managers also struggle with when to be “hands on” or “hands off.”  Many sales reps resent anything close to micromanaging and yet others need close supervision or they fall behind. Successful sales managers recognize that different individuals have different needs and adjust their sales management style to the needs of their team. It’s a bit like what you first learned in consultative selling training except that instead of playing to your customer’s preferred working style, you play to your rep’s preferred working style.

Here are three tips that allow for the differing needs of the whole sales team:

  1. Set up regular sales coaching sessions. The goal for these sessions is to meet with each sales rep, one-on-one, to review their top one or two accounts and discuss their most pressing goals, problems and needs. This is not about micromanaging.  This is your opportunity to become a better sales manager by learning what strategic plans your rep has to grow these critical accounts and how you can most help them to succeed.  Most managers like to start with weekly 1×1’s and then more to bi-weekly once the team starts to norm and perform.
  2. Use data effectively. As a sales manager, you should have access to relevant customer, financial, quota, satisfaction and sales process information that paints a clear picture of where each and every sales rep stands vis-a-vis their targets. Use the information to inform and coach your reps regarding where they should focus their energy and to spot gaps in their performance that need attention
  3. Add special meetings when necessary. There are times that call for unscheduled, all hands sales meetings…a new product launch, a bit customer win or loss, a reconfiguration of the company, or a shift from selling products to selling solutions.  Do not be afraid to clearly communicate what you know, what you do not know and when you will be able to fill in any gaps.

To learn more about how to become a better sales manager, download The Truth About Sales Coaching and the Biggest Mistakes

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