A topic talked about lately amongst my friends and clients is that of the key competencies of a sales manager. Let’s be honest, it’s a tough job! As a sales manager, you wear two bulls-eyes; one on your front and one on your back.
On the one hand, senior management is gunning for the results, the numbers, revenue, profit, etc.; and on the other, your sales people are taking pot shots at your management abilities, perhaps resenting your interference in their deals or micromanagement of their activities. To a lot of people, being a sales manager puts you in a no-win situation, especially if you aren’t clear about your role.
Our friend and fellow sales speaker John Asher suggests these three main roles for the sales manager:
1. Be a Mentor
- Recruit and build a cohesive sales team.
- Help your salespeople develop as professionals.
- Motivate each person individually.
- Participate in sales calls, but only when appropriate.
- Coach instead of manage. In other words, guide people to discover the answer, rather than you providing it.
2. Be a Strategist
- Create and communicate the sales team’s vision.
- Develop an approach to the marketplace.
- Match compensation and incentives to the strategy.
- Continuously manage and upgrade the sales process, and measure performance.
3. Be a Communicator
- Build bridges between top management, marketing, customer service, and the sales team.
- Encourage 360-feedback between you and each member of your sales team. Learn from their input.
- Share information within the sales team, for example:
I once heard a great line from Jack Daly, a motivational speaker, who said “Your job as a sales manager is not to develop sales, but to develop sales people.” As a sales manager, mastering these key competencies will help you enjoy your work more and succeed more often. Let us know if the comments if these skills ring true for your career!