7 years ago
February 21, 2017

The Top 7 Characteristics of a Successful Sales Manager

Think you have what it takes to manage a sales team? Then check out the top characteristics of a successful sales manager. Keep reading.

Claire McConnachie Recruiter
Claire McConnachie

The sales manager’s role in the sales department cannot be understated. The manager must be able to lead a team of sales people with vastly different selling styles and personality types. He must be able to motivate and encourage. He must be able to coach. He must be able to take his team to the next level and successfully overcome challenges, no matter what they are.

This is a difficult feat. Not everyone is cut out to manage a sales team. These top characteristics of a successful sales manager are a must for success in the role.

1. Master of Change

Sales is constantly evolving—it’s never stagnant. Sales approaches that used to work in the past aren’t relevant anymore. The way people buy has changed. And the future will likely see big changes in the way sales people engage and close.

One of the most difficult tasks a manager has is to prepare their sales people for the constantly changing marketplace. They must be ready to abandon everything they know and adapt to a new normal. Being a master of change is one of the most important characteristics of a successful sales manager today. They must be able to lead their sales team into a successful future by navigating and adapting to uncontrollable and unpredictable changes in economics, technology, and finances.

2. Trust Building

The sales manager must be respected by their team of sales people in order to be effective. And this respect can only exist if there is trust. Great sales managers understand that sales people don’t pay attention to what they say, but judge them by what they do. By leading by example, always being good to their word, being honest, and being genuine, sales people can gain the trust and respect of their team members.

3. Give Feedback

If sales people aren’t given timely and actionable feedback, they’ll stop working so hard. They won’t see the point if no one notices. All employees need a pat on the back sometimes in order to stay motivated. Just as importantly, they need consequences for goals missed, or sales productivity will decline.

The ability to give objective feedback, and expertly balance positive reinforcement and criticism, is one of the top characteristics of a successful sales manager.

4. Building Enthusiasm

A happy and engaged salesforce will be more effective, efficient, and productive. Sales managers are critical in building enthusiasm and motivating sales people to succeed. The best managers understand that morale is important to sales results. Creating healthy competition, using sales incentives, and building sales contests can all boost morale, and in turn, sales performance.

5. Building and Improving the Sales Team

The most successful sales managers never stop trying to improve their sales teams. They take the time required to develop their reps’ skills and work on their weaknesses. They understand that ongoing training, coaching, and development is a must and that sales training is a continual investment. They create a focused plan for improvement, stretch their team members outside of their comfort zones, and give them new approaches and strategies to try. They advocate individual growth.

6. Communication

Every effective leader knows how to communicate. Open and honest exchanges between sales managers and sales reps can create strong and trusting relationships. A manager that isn’t adept at communication won’t be able to offer guidance or feedback, to train, or to coach. It’s one of the must-have characteristics of a successful sales manager.

7. Availability

Sales managers are busy with paperwork, with administrative tasks, and with strategy. But the best sales managers make time for their team members and are available when needed. They are always there to answer questions and to help their reps overcome particularly tough challenges. They don’t micromanage, but they do make it a point to be available and involved.

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.