What if each sales team in your organization had a great sales manager?
⬇️ Attrition Rate
⬆️ Increase in Sales
⬆️ Increase in Profit
⬆️ Increase in Engaged Employees
⬆️ Increase in Customer Engagement
But then this is an implausible idea, especially when most of the sales managers were once just the top performers in the team. Yup, that’s right! In the course of my career, most sales managers that I’ve met were promoted to managerial positions because they used to get the maximum sales for the company during their tenure as a salesperson or sales executives.
Probably it’s the best way to keep the teams motivated but definitely not the only way to reward high-achievers. Personally, I find this one of the major reasons for high attrition and low sales in most companies. The deal-closing skills that make a person a great achiever are quite different from the ones needed to keep the team inspired.
So what makes a good sales manager? What are the attributes that you must look into when hiring one for your organization? And most importantly, should you really promote your high-achiever to a managerial position? Let’s find out…
Attributes of a Good Sales Manager Is A Good Coach
In 2021, coaching is no longer a speciality. Every good manager should be a good coach. He/she should be able to lead the team to better engagement, job satisfaction, high productivity, and enhanced customer service.
As written in Trillion Dollar Coach, a book based on interviews of many great people and companies associated with Bill Campbell, “The path to success in a fast-moving, highly competitive, technology-driven business world is to form high-performing teams and give them the resources and freedom to do great things, And an essential component of high-performing teams is a leader who is both a savvy manager and a caring coach.”
It’s definitely quicker and easy to tell and give advice. But a coaching mindset ensures that people trust the instincts of their manager, as well as feel connected and aligned to the goals set for them. A successful sales manager must look into the strengths and weaknesses of each team member and help them build on their strengths while improving weaknesses.
Empowers the team, and doesn’t micromanage
70% of people being micromanaged considered quitting their job and over 30% of respondents actually did!
To sum up this data, micromanaging can and has made people quit! But most people who are new to the ranks of a manager often make this mistake, inevitably trying to maintain as much control over the team as possible.
A good sales manager assigns the sales quota, asks if anyone needs any guidance or advice to do the job, and then pretty much leaves it to them to accomplish their individual goals. He/she is accessible when needed and doesn’t interfere with the job directly.
When the team is empowered, they feel more confident and are willing to go the extra mile to achieve their targets as well as keep the customers happy.
Communicates goals and expectations clearly
According to Dr James O’Rourke, IV, Teaching Professor of Management for the University of Notre Dame, “Your ability to accomplish anything is dependent on your ability to communicate”. Having a vision and a mission for the team is one thing, being able to communicate it effectively is another.
If a manager fails to communicate his/her goals, aspirations, and expectations in a way that’s easily understood by the team, you may not be able to achieve the desired results.
Exhibits emotional resilience
Resilient Managers exhibit the capacity to deal with challenges, high-pressure tasks, and stress, whilst maintaining the team’s resilience and wellbeing levels. It’s not just about survival, it’s about helping oneself and the team to grow and develop with constantly changing priorities and a heavy workload. But then resilience is not a skill that a person is born with, it’s developed with practice and experience.
Confidence, clear values, adaptability, and good relationships with others are a few key characteristics to look for when choosing a sales manager. Such a person will be able to effectively implement a range of different coping mechanisms.
Fosters Innovation and help people implement them
To help any business gain advantage in today’s competitive economy, leading innovation is a critical leadership skill. Sales Managers have to be bold thinkers as well as build an environment that encourages and supports innovation.
When a manager fosters the team’s ability to push boundaries and embrace risks, innovation happens naturally leading to unexpected successes. Innovation-driven teams can find a powerful antidote to challenges and the engine that can help the organization thrive—even during unprecedented times.
Is a strong decisions maker
Sales Teams are easily demotivated, especially when the sales graph is declining. Constant failures often lead to low morale. Demotivated sales reps want a manager they can trust and follow, especially when things go south. A prudent and decisive leader can make all the difference.
From everyday work-related decisions to taking extreme actions during challenging times, a well-informed and firm decision-maker should be able to set directions for others with confidence. This not only ensures that there is no ambiguity within the team but also creates a positive environment that fosters co-existence and mutual understanding.
You require leaders to build successful teams
Summing up, Sales Manager is not just a title, but a responsibility that very few people can hustle through. And responsibilities go beyond setting goals and achieving targets. A great sales manager inspires others with his/her confidence, conduct, and energy. It also includes sharing success and owning failures. When looking for a leader to lead your sales teams you need someone who can quickly adapt, stimulate sales reps, optimize work, as well as create a positive environment to help people thrive.
So getting back to the original question.
Should you promote high-performers to managerial positions?
Well, ask yourself if the potential candidate displays the necessary managerial characteristics. Develop a pipeline that you can use to evaluate potential candidates from the existing teams.
Of course, finding someone with all the qualities may not be possible. Some traits have to be developed with training and practice. But you can hire the candidate who has a majority of the leadership qualities at the corporate level and help them develop the traits they lack.