Must-have Traits and Skills for Successful Sales Managers
Selling is a challenging career where only a few do very well – to master this you have to be able to master skills in a number of contrasting and complex areas.
As the role requires a special combination of skills and attributes many organisations struggle to find quality candidates and similarly many applicants fall down because they have not fine-tuned skills and competences that fit the role.
The following key questions will shape how good a “fit” you are for the role
- Motivated by the thrill of the hunt or the thrill of development? Great sales managers are excited when they hear about the success of a team member closing a deal rather than just their own success. Their reward comes from praising their staff in achieving a target and not just their own successes.
- Can you wear two hats at the same time? A good Sales Manager will be sensitive to the challenges faced by their staff out in the field and then present those issues accurately to other parts of the business whilst keeping one eye upon the need for profit and business growth. The key is to balance this well all of the time so that nobody in the organisation is dealt less-favourably by you.
- Can you sell – or teach someone else how to sell? As a Sales Manager you are instantly one step away from where the action sits so you need to be sure that your staff are able to sell and close as you can – or even better than you can! The key issue here is how you transfer those skills to other staff. The best Sales Managers develop sales professionals who are better than them at closing the sale!
- Can you see into the future? Make sure that you raise your attention to the bigger picture at all times and do not get stuck with the nitty-gritty day-to-day mechanics of the job! What is your strategy and do your staff actually know this?
- Prepared for a few lonely days? It gets very lonely at the top of the pyramid and the banter and joy of having colleagues around may well be a real challenge for you. Often you will be leading the charge and making profits from a lonely point at the front. Are you ready for this?
- Know your people well! You are not selling now but managing those who are selling hence you must get to know them well. Make sure you are fully Emotionally Intelligent – read up and fully understand what this means and how to practically use the skills to maximum effect! Always remember that sales professionals cannot and must not be mass-managed!
- Be prepared to leave the Office! Customers tell you what is important. Always. The only way to uncover that is to meet them first-hand and similarly the only way to coach a sales professional is to see them in action. Never second-guess activity or information from the comfort of the desk! Resist the warm and comfortable office and get your hands dirty in the filed occasionally. Your staff will like and appreciate it!
Ready for the job? Up for it?
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