They may have come up through the sales team ranks and been a stellar salesperson, but does that make them right for the role of sales manager? Maybe not, according to Leigh Staley Tarullo, founder of 3D New Home Sales Systems. “Salespeople are funny,” Tarullo says, “The very qualities that make them great salespeople make them very hard to manage, but despite what they say, they want to be led. It’s tough for a lot of managers to do.”
Just because someone is the top performer of the sales team, consistently exceeding sales goals, doesn’t mean that they possess the qualities that are necessary to be an effective sales leader. However, whether you are looking to promote one of your sales team members to a management position, or you are a team member yourself, looking to advance, there are some attributes that can put the odds of success in your favor.
A successful sales manager recognizes that it’s all about the team. This is why a stellar sales performer may not be the right person for the job. While they may have been able to sell successfully on their own, they may not have the ability to produce the same results from a team of salespeople. Successful sales leaders must be willing to go to bat for their team members, be available to them, and know how to motivate different types of salespeople, all for the good of the team.
To have a successful team, sales leaders have to continually teach and mentor members to reach their potential, so maintaining a coaching mentality is essential. This includes being able to adapt coaching styles to best meet the needs of individuals on the team, and coaching to both the numbers-driven aspects of sales and the soft-skills needed to make a successful salesperson. An effective leader is someone who is constantly on the lookout for who needs help and encouragement, and also has the ability to provide those in a practical way.
A manager must be able to earn the trust and respect from sales team members, and the best way to do that is by being an experienced salesperson himself. When someone has worked their way up, learned through experience, and is able to implement strategies based on that, the sales team will respond accordingly. Throwing someone in as a manager who may be well-educated but not very experienced, can be a recipe for disaster with team members who perceive themselves as more experienced than the new boss.
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A successful sales manager is someone who acts as the glue that holds organizational departments together. They are often the go between for upper management and the sales team, and they must also relate easily to those in adjacent departments. They are often the most accessible managers in the office, as they don’t usually go out and make calls or have offsite appointments, so they have to be approachable and available to different departments.
Being a good listener and communicator is the foundation for most of the other attributes. Generally, a person cannot be team-oriented, a good coach or motivator, or interact effectively with others, if they don’t possess good communication skills. All this is very achievable and you can use tools like Salesmate to really help your team grow and communicate properly.
The sales manager position isn’t one that every great salesperson can master, because it requires wearing so many different hats. A successful sales manager has to be a stickler for sales quotas, while maintaining team morale, coaching and motivating and implementing sales strategies. It’s no easy feat, but if you (or your candidate for the position) have the above attributes, you might just be the one for the job.
Here are some good book you can buy to help you become a great sales manager.
The Successful Sales Manager – by Dustin Ruge
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