We talk a lot about the metrics and activities that great sales managers focus on but there is more to it than just quota attainment and metrics. The sales blogging world has created a ton of high-value content on what it takes to be a great sales manager and we would like to highlight a few of ourfavorite gems from the SalesHacker blog.
Qualities of Great Sales Managers
(From Matthew Bellows, "Top 10 Qualities of Great Sales Managers")
Sales managers don't get to where they are solely on luck. It takes continuously proven results to be granted the privilege of being in charge of a sales team. A great sales manager is confident in their deservingness to be in the position that they're in and to solve the challenges that come with being a manager.
Consistency is one of the most important traits that a sales manager can be. Being consistent means sticking to agendas during meetings, being on time with starting and ending one-on-one's or sales huddles, and being fair across the board when it comes to dealing with sales reps that consistently don't want to abide by the team's sales strategy. A great sales manager is also consistently loyal to their team when they face sales challenges.
As the old saying goes, "a good captain never abandons a sinking ship". The same applies to a sales manager and their sales team. When things look grim and results aren't as good as they could be, great sales managers don't throw their team under the bus. A sales manager stands with their team and works with each member to help increase the team's performance as a whole. A great manager must take accountability for the team's performance because, at the end of the day, the way a team performs has a lot to do with how you manage.
Activities of a Great Sales Manager
(From Gabriel Luna-Osteseski's "12 Tips for Managing a High-Performing Sales Team")
Set the Bar High - Andrew Riesenfeld
Great sales managers don't settle for average performance. They strive to make their team accomplish more than they believe is possible. This gives them a sense of purpose and challenges them to constantly improve their selling skills.
Training Matters - David Baga
With great expectations comes the requirement to have a great sales team. Unfortunately, sales superstars usually aren't born that way and most of your sales team will need consistent coaching in order to excel. A great manager knows how important it is to create and abide by a formal sales coaching strategy. They also know how important it is to have coaching be a consistent occurrence and not just when sales reps show signs of struggling.
Design a Transparent Organization - David Baga
A great sales manager knows how to make everyone on the team feel like that have a personal stake in the success of the team, that means everything must be transparent. A surprise to you should be a surprise to everyone on your sales team. If you know something about the forecast, quota, or the general sales organization and you're holding that back from the team then you're being a poor leader. Sometimes you may not know what your team doesn't know, at the very least it is important that you, as a sales manager, have enabled your sales team to know where to go in order to get the answers they need.
Being a sales manager can be a tough job, but there are so many things in your control that you can do to make it easier. Sometimes you will miss numbers, sometimes you'll have high-performing sales reps that are poor team players, and sometimes you will just have an all around awesome sales team. No matter what happens, just know that you're there to support the team and help each rep be the best they can be.