I’ve worked with sales managers around the country, in small businesses and large organizations. It’s not difficult to pinpoint those who are great at their jobs. You don’t have to show me sales figures. I watch them connect with their sales team for about half an hour, and I can see how and why these professionals have become great sales managers.
The great sales managers I’ve worked with share three skills in common.
#1. They are excellent mentors.
One of the most important jobs of a sales manager is to provide training. By mentoring their sales team members, they share knowledge and experience—both good and bad—and provide guidance, rather than deliver commands. A great sales manager cultivates a great sales team. They don’t jump in and fix things or criticize. Instead, they offer constructive advice for improving. Great sales managers are focused more on strengthening the skills of their team, because the success of the players defines the success of the coach.
#2. They give credit where it is due.
A true leader derives satisfaction from seeing others succeed with their help. Leave your ego outside, because if you want to inspire your sales team, you give them credit when they have earned it, never stealing the accolades for yourself. A great sales manager recognizes that acknowledgement is an incentive. It’s a reward that sparks a sales professional to go for the next win—and then another, and another.
The greatest coaches of all time cultivated winning teams. They didn’t put themselves in the spotlight. Their role was to build each individual into the best player they could be, and the best teammate. When they win the championship, they hoist the trophy together.
#3. They consistently follow a process.
While I appreciate ingenuity and the ability to improvise in a tough situation, I also believe that you can avoid many of these problems by following a process. From generating leads to cultivating prospects to closing the sale, a great sales manager has established and follows a clearly defined set of steps for every process. Sure, you can refine the steps as you find ways to improve, but creating this solid foundation gives your team parameters against which they can weigh options and make decisions. You must also give them the ability to shape the system to leverage their strengths, so that you encourage their desire to perform as an individual, not an automaton.
A strong sales organization grows from the right balance of talent and management. A great sales manager possesses the skills to cultivate the talent, and the whole group reaps the rewards.
Myers Barnes is America’s favorite new home sales trainer, author, speaker and consultant. For more information, please visit www.myersbarnes.com.