3 Key Competencies of a Sales Manager

July 28, 2009
3 Key Competencies of a Sales Manager

What are 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.

Senior management is gunning for the results, the numbers, revenue, profit, etc.; and 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 losing situation, especially if you aren't clear about your role.

But, you're a sales leader. In other words, you're in charge of supporting sales thereby helping your company grow!

3 Key Competencies of a Sales Manager

Our friend and fellow sales speaker, John Asher, suggests the following 3 key competencies of a successful sales manager:


This competency requires that you:

  1. Recruit and build a cohesive sales team.
  2. Help your salespeople develop as professionals.
  3. Motivate each person individually.
  4. Participate in sales calls, but only when appropriate.
  5. Coach, don't manage. In other words, guide people towards discovering the answer for themselves.


This competency requires that you:

  1. Create and communicate the sales team's vision.
  2. Develop an approach for the marketplace.
  3. Match compensation and incentives to your strategy.
  4. Continuously manage and upgrade the sales process, and measure performance.


This competency requires that you:

  1. Build bridges between top management, marketing, customer service, and the sales team.
  2. Encourage 360-feedback between you and each member of your sales team.
  3. Share information within the sales team, for example:
    • Best practices for “wins.”
    • Lesson learned from “losses.”
    • Overcoming objections
    • Your unique sales process
    • Documenting ideas, goals, stories, and other best selling practices in your company's Sales PlayBook.

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.”

Mastering these 3 key competencies of a sales manager 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!

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  • Stan - Reply

    One additional thing: Sales managers should ask themselves what each individual needs to know and why, and what reaction they expect from them.

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