3 years ago
January 5, 2015

5 Characteristics of Successful Sales Managers

Successful sales managers have some characteristics that are unique to their profession. Five of those characteristics are listed here.

Rhys Metler

Some people seem to have a secret trick that makes them more successful than others. Things just seem to work easier for them than for everyone else. In fact, there are no secrets or tricks. Successful people typically share some of the same qualities. They develop plans, and stick to them. They learn from their own mistakes, and the mistakes of others. They listen to and heed the advice of people with more training and experience. While most successful people share some basic characteristics, successful sales managers have some characteristics that are unique to their profession. Five of those characteristics, and why they work, are listed here.

Share the Load

Successful sales managers know how damaging micromanagement can be. It consumes too much of their time, and makes subordinates feel untrusted. In a busy sales office, there are just too many things to do for one person to be involved in everything. Successful sales managers know how to choose the right person for the job, and then let them do that job. If you don’t trust your sales staff to handle the assignments you give them, why are they your sales staff to begin with?

Team Building

As an individual salesperson, your job was to focus on your own efforts and results. Now that you’re a sales manager, it’s your job to get everyone focused on the team goals. Salespeople tend to be very individualistic, and that’s a good thing. Harness that tendency and use it to help drive increasing sales goals. However, the salespeople are there to make money for a business. Their individual goals must reflect the overall goals of the larger business. Successful sales managers will make sure that individual goals are aligned with company interests.

Sideline Support

Once you’ve built your team, you get to take on the role of coach, trainer, and cheerleader. It’s up to you to guide their efforts, help them when they have problems, and sing their praises when they do well. Like any good team, they should be out on the field, executing the game plan, and trying to score. They’ll do this more effectively if they know that you’re watching from the sidelines, ready to step into any role they need you to play.

He Who Hesitates

One of the most difficult tasks for successful sales managers is making decisions. While some decisions will be made by your superiors, many will still fall on your head. Successful sales managers know that they have to make decisions quickly, based on the best information they have at the time. Many sales managers simply make decisions by paralysis. They wait until it’s too late for their decision to make a difference, then let the chips fall where they may. This leaves too much up to chance. When a decision has to be made, successful sales managers examine the data, then make their best decision.

Recruit and Retain the Best, Retrain the Rest

In an ideal world, you would always have the best talent to work with. Unfortunately, this won’t always, or even often, be the case. One thing successful sales managers excel at is getting the most out of what they have. This starts with finding the best talent, and getting them on board. Once there, successful sales managers work hard to make sure they stay. The wooing process doesn’t end after they’re hired. Exit and stay interviews can help determine what factors are affecting your recruiting and retention. Do what it takes to keep your best talent from jumping ship.

The other side of this issue is mentorship. There are natural-born salespeople, and then there’s everyone else. Successful sales managers take the talent they’re given, and turn them into the best sales force they can be. Training programs, sales initiatives, and coaching can all play a role. The end goal is to teach a good salesperson how to be a great salesperson.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 11+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and two daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day, tropical vacations and cottaging.