8 years ago
April 13, 2016

3 Tips for Managing Your Sales Team

Managing a sales team is important work and challenging for the sales manager. These tips for effectively managing your sales team can help.

Rhys Metler

Managing a sales team is important work, but unfortunately for sales managers the blue print for managing a sales team successfully is not always clear. A successful sales team may consist of many different personalities, all of which are likely to be strong and may have other characteristics that are simultaneously desirable in sales and challenging for the sales manager. These tips for effectively managing your sales team can help.

1. Eliminate Uncertainty in Goals and Priorities for the Sales Team

Sales people often believe that they know their clients and industries best, and this is often the case. However, part of successfully managing a sales team depends on being able to direct the energies of the sales people in a way that aligns with business goals and priorities. If clear expectations are not provided, the stage may be set for conflict. Eliminate this conundrum by eliminating uncertainty:

  • Educate your sales people on the big picture for your business, using one, five, and ten year time horizons. Make sure that your sales people understand how goals and priorities are designed to meet future directions.
  • Do not leave room for misunderstanding in goals and priorities. Whenever possible, eliminate ranges in targets in favor of exact numbers.
  • When priorities change, help your sales people understand the “whys” and “hows” so that misunderstandings and damaged egos do not result.

2. Earn the Trust of Your Sales Team

Trust is the cornerstone of sales, and so should it be the cornerstone of managing in sales. Sales managers who incorporate trust as part of their mantra for managing a sales team tend to have greater leadership success because a sales team is always willing to follow a leader who they trust and respect. Make managing your sales team easier and build trust at the team level and with individual sales people by:

  • Promoting transparency in everything that you do so that sales people understand that decisions are made in the best interests of the sales team and the business.
  • Always keeping your commitments, and if you can’t, explaining how circumstances intervened and what can be done to arrive at a solution.
  • Demonstrating consideration for the sales people you lead on a daily basis. Be accommodating when you can, and constructively supportive at all times and the trust of your sales team will result.

3. Turn Problems Into Opportunities and Occasions for Learning

If the members of a sales team are reluctant to turn to the sales manager when a wrong turn is taken, minor mistakes can escalate into sales disasters. What’s worse, a sales manager can not act to solve a problem if he or she is not aware of it. This can make managing a sales team exponentially more difficult. As a sales manager you can avoid this issue by encouraging your sales people to come to you as a “chief problem solver” when sales people cannot arrive at a solution on their own. Open the door to constructive problem solving by:

  • Avoiding the urge to blame or dissect the reasons for bad news. Be constructive when pointing out areas for object lessons in sales.
  • Partnering with your sales people to solve problems instead of simply giving instructions to be carried out.
  • Encouraging sales people to learn by questioning and leading them to propose solutions on their own. This also helps reduce the risk that as the chief problem solver you will also become the solver of all problems by encouraging your sales people to think and act independently.

Managing a sales team is rewarding, because a sales manager is able to lead and participate in the success of the entire sales team. To make sure that that success happens, sales managers should examine their management styles and the work styles of their sales teams to understand how to more effectively manage their sales team.

Rhys Metler

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.