7 years ago
February 21, 2017

7 Key Characteristics of a Successful Sales Manager

Wondering if you have what it takes to be a sales leader? Check out if you have these characteristics of a successful sales manager. Read on.

Claire McConnachie Recruiter
Claire McConnachie

You’re by far the top-performing sales person on your team. You constantly hit your sales targets. You bring in the most revenue. And you have big dreams. Maybe you don’t want to be a sales rep for the rest of your life. Maybe you’re looking to get promoted to sales manager one day.

It’s important to note, however, that the transition from sales rep to sales manager can be very difficult. The traits that make you great at your current role may not translate well. If you want to see if you have what it takes, check out these seven key characteristics of a successful sales manager and see if/how-to-transition-from-sales-rep-to-sales-manager you’ve got ‘em.

1. Communication

As a sales rep, you’re probably used to being on your own most of the time. You rarely interact with your team members or even your current manager. But to be a successful sales manager, you need to have great communication skills. You need to be able to communicate with your team clearly, efficiently, and effectively. Without this skill, you won’t be able to give instructions, coach, or lead appropriately.

2. Performance Management

If you already set your own goals and track your sales performance, then you’re on the right track because performance management is one of the key characteristics of a successful sales manager. You will be responsible for the performance of all of your team members, which means you will need to know, and address, problems if members aren’t performing effectively.

3. Personal Development

You also need to make sure that all of your members have the skills required to do their jobs correctly. Again, though you might be a lone wolf, you’re going to need to get out of your shell and devote effort to training and coaching team members on an individual and group basis. The stronger you can make your team members, the more likely you are to succeed in your new role.

4. Leadership

You might be equal with everyone on your team right now, but if you become manager, you’ll need to take on a leadership role. That means making tough decisions when you need to, being someone that everyone can rely on, and taking control to steady things when times get tough. Your team members will be looking at you for leadership, and you can’t disappoint.

5. Adaptability

Many sales people are forcefully against change. They spend so much time refining their strategies and selling tactics and they don’t want to change them and learn new, more effective techniques, even if they should. But adaptability is one of the most important characteristics of a successful sales manager. Sales is constantly changing due to technological advancements, economic changes, and societal changes. And you need to be able and willing to adapt—and help your team adapt—in order to stay relevant and profitable in the future. You cannot let your own disdain for change affect your decisions as a sales leader.

6. Delegation

You’re probably used to being in charge of everything in your life. Your success or failure is directly related to your abilities and efforts. Not so when you’re a sales manager. You won’t be able to handle every little thing on your own anymore. You’re going to have to learn how to delegate effectively, trust your team, and make sure not to micromanage.

7. Inspiration and Motivation

Sometimes, things get difficult in sales. Reps get in a slump. Sales are hard to come by. And rejection is everywhere. You no doubt have already faced a lot of this as a sales person. If you don’t let it get to you, if you know how to stay motivated and inspired, and if you know how to do the same for others, then you’re in a good spot for being a successful sales manager.

Inspiration and motivation are hard to learn. But if they’re already a natural part of you, you’ll be on the right track for success in your new role. Your team members will readily follow you into battle, even in the toughest times, if you know how to motivate sales people effectively.

Claire McConnachie Recruiter

Claire McConnachie

Claire has 4+ years of experience in sales and recruitment. As a Director of Client Services, her main objective is to connect great people to great companies by building strong relationships with both top clients and candidates in the sales industry. She specializes in sales roles of all seniority levels for both enterprise and start-up clients North American wide. When Claire isn't networking with top talent, she enjoys being outdoors, traveling and spending time with friends & family.