To be a successful leader, every sales manager should have certain sales leadership qualities. Find out what they are. Read on.
The sales leadership role is one of the toughest to take on. Not only is the sales manager required to create and maintain a lead qualification process and a sales process, train sales people, deliver reviews, track sales metrics, create sales forecasts, implement performance plans, and embody company culture, but he must also lead the sales team. And not everyone that takes on the job is an effective leader. It takes certain sales leadership qualities to be successful at the job, like the ones described below.
The one constant in sales is that everything changes, thanks to uncontrollable and unpredictable changes in technology, economics, and society. And one of the most challenging tasks sales managers have is to prepare their sales teams for is the constantly changing marketplace. At the drop of a dime, best practices will change, old strategies and techniques will become irrelevant and ineffective, and new methodologies will need to be adopted in order to stay relevant in today’s business environment.
A great manager will be able to effectively ease the sales team into change, so it never stagnates.
In order to be a sales leader, a manager needs to gain his sales people’s trust to effectively build solid working relationships. Sales people are constantly watching and judging what their managers say and do. Without trust, your word won’t mean much, your sales people will second-guess what you tell them, and no one will count on you.
Your sales team must buy into your consistency, your competence, and your character if you expect them to buy into what you say. And one of the most important sales leadership qualities sales managers have is the ability to gain trust through their actions and words, through honesty, through respect, and through integrity.
As a sales leader, you are responsible for helping your sales people grow professionally, and much of this comes from providing detailed and constructive feedback, both positive and negative. Great sales managers set realistic and clear expectations and goals. They give plenty of feedback to let their sales people know where they stand. They celebrate the wins when they’re deserved and they offer consequences when they’re deserved. Creating standards and standing by them, then giving feedback based on these standards, will create accountability and help your sales people develop.
One of the most important sales leadership qualities managers can have is the ability to motivate an unmotivated team. Sales is a tough job filled with a lot of rejection. When your sales people are in a slump, it’s up to you to motivate them—to keep them happy and engaged and make them want to keep trying. Encouragement, creative competitions, and proper sales compensation all help sales managers motivate sales people in order to improve productivity, especially when times are tough.
As a team leader, the sales manager must take responsibility of not only his own actions but those of the entire group. This includes making quick and confident decisions when needed, successfully delegating tasks, promoting effective communication and collaboration, and accepting blame when things go wrong.
Sales coaching has become one of the most critical sales leadership qualities. A successful manager can identify his team members’ strengths and build on them and identify their weaknesses and improve upon them. The best managers are also advisors, mentors, and sales coaches to their teams, always looking to develop their talents and abilities.
Communication skills are critical in the sales manager role. Without proper communication, everything falls apart. Great managers have excellent listening skills and understand how to effectively communicate their goals, missions, and expectations.
Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ 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 daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.