Key Sales Management Skills – The Top 10 to Get Right

Key Sales Management Skills – The Top 10 to Get Right
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Top 10 Key Sales Management Skills: Mastering the Art of Sales Leadership
Sales leaders must routinely navigate high stakes internal and external relationships while meeting ever-increasing revenue targets and demands from their sales team.  In our sales leadership simulation assessment, we measure 20 sales leader competencies and 65 corresponding sales leadership micro-behaviors to identify the key sales management skills that matter most for your unique sales strategy, sales culture, and marketplace.

The Top 10 Categories Related to Key Sales Management Skills
Every company, marketplace, and sales team faces similar yet unique challenges.  While all leaders must rely on a diverse toolkit to set their teams up for success, our research has identified eight categories related to key sales management skills.  We assess them to see what matters most and then cover them in our sales management training program for sales leaders that focuses on how to lead, manage, and coach sales teams for higher performance.

  1. Clarity
    Our organizational alignment research found that strategic sales clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing sales teams in terms of revenue growth, profitability, customer satisfaction, and sales rep engagement. You will know you have created enough strategic sales clarity when all key stakeholders tell you that the sales strategy is clear, believable, and implementable enough to meet your sales targets in a way that makes sense.

    Can your sales leaders design a clear and compelling sales strategy with strategic priorities that all key stakeholders fully commit to?

  2. Communication
    Effective communication serves as the compass that steers sales teams towards success. Repeatedly, communication rates as one of the key sales management skills required to lead, manage, and coach sales teams.  That includes the ability to communicate clearly in a way that positively motivates customers, sales reps, partners, and internal support functions required for sales to succeed.

    Can you sales managers consistently influence through communication — especially when the stakes are high?

  3. Customer Focus
    Top sales leaders put customers first. They deeply understand their ideal target clients and passionately bring their needs to the forefront of all business decision making.  They hold everyone to high standards of customer success and satisfaction.

    Do your sales managers anticipate and meet current and future customer needs?

  4. Delegation
    Effective sales managers routinely empower others by appropriately sharing decision-making authority with the right amount of support and follow through. They coach their sales team through barriers and roadblocks.

    Do your sales managers appropriately delegate without removing responsibility?

  5. Active Listening
    High performing sales managers are adept at truly hearing and comprehending what others are trying to say. They ask insightful and open-ended sales questions and check their own understanding to stimulate deeper insight.

    Can your sales leaders hear what people are really saying?

  6. Leading Individuals
    Because the success of a sales leader is based upon the success of their sales team, sales leaders must be able to create an environment for their teams to perform at their peak. That means effective sales team development, coaching, and mentoring.  They actively develop others through feedback, challenging stretch assignments, reflection, and suggestions.

    Do your sales managers know how to set their teams up for sustained success?

  7. Negotiation, Persuasion, and Influence
    Top sales managers quickly establish rapport and trust with key internal and external stakeholders. They ethically and effectively influence others’ thinking or behavior by uncovering underlying problems and presenting convincing arguments for win-win agreements.  They create the appropriate sense of urgency and collaboration to accomplish desired results.

    Can you sales managers influence others when the stakes are high?

  8. Planning
    Good sales managers create agreed upon team charters that outline who will do what by when with the resources needed during each phase of the plan. They creatively leverage resources and establish systems to track progress of individual contributors and teams.

    Can your sales managers create effective and accepted plans for future success?

  9. Problem Solving
    Sales teams expects their sales leaders to help them identify important issues and solve complex problems that are in the way of their personal or professional success. Top sales managers carefully evaluate multiple solutions to a business problem based on clear criteria and help to identify the most effective remedy the situation.

    Are your sales managers effective problem solvers?

  10. Prospecting
    High performing solution sellers ruthlessly qualify sales opportunities. Strong sales managers define criteria for and help their sales teams to determine if a lead has certain characteristics that qualify it as a prospect worth pursuing.

    Do you sales leaders help their teams to focus their efforts on ideal target clients where your unique value proposition resonates most?

The Bottom Line
Effective sales management necessitates the ability to inspire, motivate, and guide sales teams toward collective objectives. By assessing and honing these key sales management skills, sales managers chart a course towards enduring success.  Can your sales managers navigate their teams through the inevitable marketplace challenges that will arise?

To learn more about the key sales management skills required to successfully lead sales teams, download How Leaders Optimize Their Sales Force in the Face of Increased Performance Pressure

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