Eight Qualities of a Sales Manager That Will Make Them Successful in 2020: The Future Sales Manager Guide
Stepping up from being a sales representative to a sales manager is different from any other kind of promotion. There is a whole lot of difference in being a good sales representative and leading an entire bunch of them. The qualities of a good sales manager are the very reason that makes managing a team of salespeople a bed of thorns.
No matter how different and difficult it is to sell and lead, a good sales manager has to manage both. There are certain qualities of a sales manager that make him tap the selling potential of every team member.
No doubt that a sales manager need to have hands-on experience of converting leads to customers to understand the challenges of their team members. However, apart from this, a sales manager would need many more skills to sustain himself, his team and the organization in 2020.
The technology, digitalization, and globalization are growing exponentially with every passing day. This is exposing everyone to an enormous amount of data and knowledge. Everyone has access to every piece of information present online. As a result, the prospects are more knowledgeable and well informed.
Moreover, the youth working as sales representatives have comparatively lesser patience to climb the success ladder slowly. They want to grab every small opportunity that life throws at them, without analyzing whether the opportunity is worth their efforts or not. Hence, during such difficult times, it is the skills and qualities of the sales manager that save the sales representatives and their deals.
Eight Qualities of a Sales Manager
Most of the sales representatives have a product-oriented approach. In other words, they usually focus on their product while pitching to a lead. However, in 2020 the leads will have a large number of other options for the same product thanks to the internet. Thus, the approach that will actually work is the customer-oriented approach.
To convert the old school product-oriented approach to the latest customer-oriented approach, the sales manager will have to step in. He needs to strategise the sales plan in a manner that the sales team develops a customer-oriented approach to bring out improved results.
Let us understand this from an example. Suppose your team is selling capital equipment worth a thousand dollars. One of your team members pitches to a lead by telling him the benefits and features of the equipment. However, a well-informed lead already knows all of that and maybe even the loopholes of your product as he has already researched everything about it.
The other sales representative pitches to another lead by telling them the features that will especially help the lead to solve some of their problems. It may be the cost-effectiveness or the size of your equipment that fits exactly as per the requirement of the lead or some other feature.
Your second team member is more likely to win the deal given the current scenario. Hence, this quality of a sales manager is quite essential for him to encourage his team members to change their approach to a more effective and productive one.
2. Coordination between Different Departments of the Organization
This is one of the most important qualities of a sales manager. As a matter of fact, good coordination is needed among the managers of all the different departments of the organization. Hence, it is the task of not only the sales manager but also managers of production and marketing.
The production department will develop and package the product as per the market survey done by the marketing team. The marketing team will start some campaigns to launch or improvise the sales of the product. Further, the sales team will develop a sales plan in line with the marketing plan to sell the product to the customer.
Moreover, continuous feedbacks, evaluation and corrections are also needed so that no loose ends are left behind in the process. If so, the well-read prospects of the digital age are very smart to pick up even the slightest of the mistakes. These mistakes might even cost you a big deal worth thousands of dollars.
We all know that the sales manager is responsible to define the sales targets for his team members. Additionally, he is also accountable for implementing the correct sales plan to achieve those targets.
In addition to these responsibilities, being proactive is also an essential quality of a sales manager. Forecasting sales results beforehand for the next month or quarter, foreseeing the market imbalances that might affect his sales targets or plan, and predicting the achievable percentage of the sales target halfway through the month or the quarter are all manager’s tasks.
These predictions help him see an unforeseen situation beforehand and prepare his team for some adverse scenarios. For example, he sees a marketing campaign of a competitor halfway through the quarter that might affect the sales of their company negatively by 10-20%.
Now is the time for the manager to plan his sales activities (in-line with the new marketing campaigns of the company) for the next quarter to make up for the losses that they will suffer in the current quarter. This is the only way to survive in the market in 2020 with such cutthroat competition.
In addition to the external activities, a manager also needs to anticipate and resolve any undesirable conflicts that might come up within his team. Again, it is only possible if the manager can foresee things in advance and be proactive by being ready with a solution.
4. Motivate the Team
Well, leadership is almost synonymous to motivating the team. A leader has to keep encouraging the team members to keep working hard to accomplish their goals.
This is an addition in the future sales manager guide because the youth working as the sales representatives today are rarely self-motivated. This is because they know that they have a large number of other options if they fail in sales or if they feel that sales is not for them.
The drive to work is seldom the need for a basic necessity and mostly the need to build a flourishing career. Hence, if sales don’t work out for them, they can easily switch to other jobs. This is especially true for skilled labour due to the present scarcity of the same in the market.
Therefore, it is important for the sales manager to keep the fire in the sales representatives ignited. Most salespeople work hard to meet the realistic targets that their managers set for them. Target setting works as a driver for motivation for the salespeople.
Correct instructions to improve during bad and whole-hearted appreciation during good days go a long way in building a self-motivated team.
Another way is to make work fun. Yes, it is very much the responsibility of the sales manager to turn work into a fun place. This not only lessens the stress but also increases the work efficiency of the whole team. Here you can read some tips on how you turn work into fun for your sales team.
5. Organizational Skills
When you step into the shoes of a sales manager, you will have a hundred tasks to do in your hand. Therefore, the organizational quality of a sales manager is important not only to keep him ahead of time but also his team members to be organized. Prioritization and time management are the keys to handle this problem.
Stephen Covey, in his book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, suggests using a time matrix to organize tasks at hand. This time matrix has four quadrants. The first one has a list of tasks that are urgent as well as important. The second one has tasks that are not urgent but important. The third quadrant consists of things to do that are urgent but not important and the last quadrant has all the non-urgent and non-important jobs.
He says that an efficient manager has most tasks lined up in the second quadrant and the least or none in the first one. This means that a good manager addresses the important duties before they become urgent.
As a manager, you might encounter a hundred small issues or get 10 requests each day to accept a sudden meeting. Since you have to take the responsibility of a whole team to reach their goals, you cannot just keep accepting trivial tasks while procrastinating the important or urgent ones. Hence, a good manager should know what needs his attention, efforts and time and whatnot.
6. Two-way Communication
This seems to be quite obvious and common quality of a sales manager. However, you might not have anticipated that as many as 69% managers feel uncomfortable while communicating with their team members. Moreover, 37% of them felt discomfort while communicating the feedback to their team members.
So you know, if something is common sense, it doesn’t mean it is practised commonly. However, two-way communication is significantly important between a manager and his team members. It makes sure that the team members clearly understand the instructions and guidance from their manager and that the manager truly comprehends the challenges that his people are facing.
Additionally, it is also the responsibility of the sales manager to provide honest feedback and review of the performance of his team members. The sales representatives are in the learning phase and their manager is ultimately accountable for all good or bad they do. Thus, improving them or encouraging them by physical rewards or appreciation is important.
In the absence of such a communication, there will be no loop of instruction – implementation – evaluation – feedback – improvement. And thereby, there will be no improvement in the activities of the sales representatives at all.
7. Lead by Example
Good sales managers practice what they preach. Instead of just instructing and watching, a good sales manager demonstrates to his people what needs to be done and how.
One of the most important qualities of a sales manager is that he is available for his team. His experience, time and efforts are always there to help his team grow and learn. The manager makes everything that his team critically needs to prosper – resource, tool or technology – available to them.
To crack some of the tough deals, a manager would also require accompanying his team members for support. That is what Lead by Example truly means.
8. De-educate or Re-educate Prospects
The internet empowers prospects by providing them access to anything and everything in this world. The information that they read about a product or a service may or may not be true or based on real-world facts.
In such a scenario, the sales representative needs to de-educate and then re-educate their prospects with the right knowledge. They need to educate their prospects correctly about their problems and the solutions that the sales representative has for them.
Therefore, it is eventually the sales manager’s job to train, guide, and equip his team with the right strategy of de-educating and re-educating the misinformed prospects.
Sales is getting tougher by the day for sales representatives and so will be managing them. However, with the right kind of qualities of a sales manager and correct attitude, managing a sales team can be a challenging yet fun job to do.
Moreover, with the help of a B2B sales consulting firm, you can now get help on how to develop, lead and manage a highly productive sales team in order to drive increased results from them.