3 years ago
January 5, 2015

How to Manage a Sales Manager

There are some important ways to manage a sales manager without impeding their natural ability to lead a sales team.

Rhys Metler

Any sales manager has a tough job. They need to be coach, teacher, friend, motivator, and disciplinarian. The sales manager has to deal with many different personalities and a different sales style for each of those personalities. They need to be able to manage their sales team keeping in mind all of the individual qualities and needs for each person.

A supervisor of a sales manager needs to think about which is more important to have a great sales team and a mediocre sales manager or a mediocre sales team and a great sales manager. For the most part, the supervisor should be looking at the latter. Sports teams offer a fine of example of how a great coach can turn a team of ordinary players into an effective, winning team. If the team owner, like the sales manager supervisor, recognizes the greatness of the coach, they will learn how to manage the coach without disrupting the coach’s efforts to make the team win.

There are some important ways to manage a sales manager without impeding their natural ability to lead a sales team.

  1. Choose the right person. The best sales person does not necessarily make the best sales manager. The skills required to be a great sales person are not the same as the skills required to be a great sales manager. There will definitely be some overlap with skills such as relationship building and communication, but you need to focus on finding a person who also has great management skills. These include leadership skills and the ability to be a motivator.
  2. Once you have found the right person, make sure you are clear as to the expected role of the sales manager. Responsibilities must be clearly defined. If the role is not defined properly, it will be too easy for the manager to be pulled in too many directions. Job descriptions for managerial positions are very important. A good detailed job description gives clarity to the position and helps the manager focus on what you feel is the most important part of the job.
  3. Continual training and development is often one of the most overlooked yet necessary requirements for success. Initial training when the manager first starts is important, but it is also important for the training to continue and on-going training should be an expectation of the job. This can be in the form of staff meetings, professional development seminars, sales conferences, and one-on-one meetings that can be used to clarify expectations and help establish sales plans.
  4. Make sure that your sales manager has all of the resources that they need to make their sales team successful. The manager should have the means to be able to put their plan for building a great team into practice. This includes access to support staff, reliable and appropriate data, and any other tool that can help them be successful. It is often too easy to dismiss requested resources as unnecessary. If the manager is expected to be focused on short-term objectives and long-term goals, then, to be effective, they need the resources to build, develop, and maintain a strong sales team.

Your sales manager can make or break your sales effort. You must do your best to offer support, guidance, and directions without impeding their ability to build a great sales team.

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.