8 years ago
April 13, 2016

How to Become a Better Sales Manager

These seven tips will help you continue to improve, making you an even better sales manager in the long run.

Rhys Metler

Becoming a better sales manager is a lot like becoming better at any job. It requires practice, determination, and an ability to objectively examine your own strengths and weaknesses. You also have to be willing to push yourself, and your team, every day. If you rest on your laurels, or let your team do all the heavy lifting, then you’ll never learn to be a better sales manager. Even if you’re the youngest sales manager in company history, have the most awards, or have the best education, there will always be room for improvement. These seven tips will help you continue to improve, making you an even better sales manager in the long run.

Less Managing, More Leading

Micromanaging will take up a lot of your time, and aggravate your team. As a sales manager, it’s now your job to lead the team to success. You can do this without trying to manage every move your team makes. Lead from within the team, and demonstrate the skills that made you a sales manager in the first place.

Learn to Listen

Remember when you were a salesperson, and it felt like your sales manager wouldn’t listen to you? Don’t be that kind of sales manager. Keep an open door, and an open ear, for your sales team. Take their suggestions and concerns seriously, and address them in the way you wish your former managers had addressed your issues.

Your Time is no Longer Your Own

As a salesperson, you were probably extremely protective of your time. That’s good-for a salesperson. As a sales manager, your time now belongs to the sales team. If they sink, you’re going down with them. Give them the time and attention they need to find success. Make sure you’re available to discuss minor issues, or you may not have time to address them later when they become big issues.

Be a Clear Communicator

Be very clear and specific about your expectations from the sales team. Tell them what you expect, and how their performance will be evaluated. Nobody likes trying to hit a moving target, so try to keep changes and surprises to a minimum. When they do crop up, tell your team as soon as possible, and let them know exactly how any changes will affect your previous expectations.

Establish and Pursue Realistic Goals

Don’t ask your team to perform the impossible or set artificially inflated goals in the hopes that it will drive up productivity. Your team will feel frustrated and defeated when they realize that the goals you’ve set can’t be achieved. If your team is struggling to meet goals, you need to examine your entire sales process-from marketing to closing. Identify and remove any roadblocks to success, and use coaching and training to improve underperforming salespeople.

Don’t be Afraid to Delegate

As a sales manager, you may feel the need to put the entire world on your shoulders. There is no shame in delegating tasks to help you better focus on your core responsibilities. One of the key traits of all successful sales managers is knowing when to let others shoulder some of the load. However, be careful not to resort to “dumping” undesirable tasks on subordinates. If it becomes clear that you’re simply delegating the things you don’t like doing, and aren’t in any real need of help, then your team’s morale will take a hit.

Learn from Mistakes

It doesn’t matter who makes the mistakes-learn from them. Every mistake is a chance to learn something new and improve the process for the next go ’round. If you’ve made a mistake, accept responsibility, make any necessary changes, and move on. If a member of your team makes a mistake, don’t chastise them for it in front of other team members. Discuss it with them privately, then discuss the mistake (but not who made it) with the rest of the 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.