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5 Things Awesome Sales Managers Do to Support Their Teams

5 Things Awesome Sales Managers Do to Support Their Teams
September 25, 2018

How do you become a sales manager?

It could be easier than you think.

The Top-Performer Paradox

All too often, when a sales manager leaves a company, the most successful salesperson is promoted to fill their position. 

It’s assumed (wrongly, in my opinion) that a super-performing salesperson will have all the knowledge, skills and aptitude to move into sales management. Also, that they want to be a manager. And because they see it as a step up, they accept the promotion. 

But being an excellent salesperson and a successful manager require entirely different skills. And it really isn’t fair to the person who’s booted into management without any preparation (or to their team).

The result? Poor sales, a demotivated team and a sales manager who was previously very high-achieving but who flounders in their new role.

A PS. to Ambitious Salespeople

I’m not saying that top salespeople can’t become managers - of course they can! But we need to give them the training they need to move into management. I’ve worked with countless sales teams and their managers over the years. Here’s what I’ve seen the most successful sales managers do to make it work.

5 Proven Techniques Used by Top Sales Managers to Get Results

1. Hire gritty people

One company I worked for said, “Hire attitude and we can always train the person”.

Calibre is defined as ‘the quality of someone's character or the level of their ability’. If you don’t hire someone who has the right attitude for the job then it is very unlikely that they will make effective salespeople.

You can watch Angela Lee Duckworth discussing the power of ‘grit’ in her captivating TED Talk in my previous post, ‘How to Train an Unstoppable Sales Team’.

2. Make it possible for your team to do a great job

Is something preventing your team from doing a really great job?

So many sales teams are frustrated because:

  1. they don’t have the tools they need to do their job
  2. the technology doesn’t work
  3. the rest of the company doesn’t know what they are trying to achieve and so conflict arises between different departments (eg. the sales team start to butt heads with the marketing department)

I love the idea that 'the leader is the servant of the team'. A ‘servant leader’ is a leader who actively serves their team by providing them with everything they need to learn, to prosper and to grow. How does this fit in with your leadership-style?

How do you find out what’s preventing your sales team from achieving their potential?

Ask them! 

Speak to your team, find out what obstacles are affecting them. Promote a feedback culture, where mistakes are analyzed and learned from, instead of blindly punished. Then encourage your team to speak up about the things that are holding them back. 

Be upfront and honest about what you can and cannot change. If one of your salespeople is struggling with something that you can’t fix, take your time to explain why and explore other options if you can.

3. Put processes in place and show your team how to use them

CRM systems, journey planning, administration - you might think it all sounds like a drag. But even things like working the phone and taking sales calls can be made easier for the salesperson by introducing processes. 

Having a system in place, say, for customer relationship management (CRM), will stop your salespeople worrying about when the last client contact was, where to find their contact details or who’s managing a customer account. Not sure? It’s all there in the CRM. Making it easier for your team to get things done with minimal faff.

The best managers know how and where to put proven processes in place to make the salesperson’s job easier. Rather than limiting your sales team, the right processes should set them free!

4. Communicate: Listen, talk, challenge!

Listen to your team members - they’re at the core of your business. When your team feel happy and valued, they’ll not only perform better but you’ll create a company culture that makes the best ones want to stay. And their insights will be invaluable! 

Tell them what you expect of them. Confusion never got anything done! And talk to your team about how they are performing as you go, tell them when what they’re doing is working - and when they’re not. 

Challenge them! And encourage them to challenge you. Be inspired by your team, as well as inspiring them. 

5. Train your team to perform

Learning any new skill takes time. And selling takes a great deal of skill. 

Top performing sports people expect to spend a great deal of time with their coaches. So why do we expect peak performance from salespeople with next-to-no training? As sales team leaders, we need to spend time training our salespeople to apply their sales skills - if we want them to improve, learn to overcome failure and hone their craft. 

Our group training sessions are helping sales teams across Angus, Tayside and Fife to find their mojo. Delivered across two days, Sandy will arm your team with the practical selling skills they need to sell consistently, and with confidence. Get in touch today to book your first session. Or call Sandy direct on 07725 472243 to find the right path for you.

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