7 Skills You’ll Need to Become A Sales Manager

Do you want to become a sales manager? Then you’ve made a wise choice.

Sales managers are the steering force behind the success of most sales organizations. And because of this, it’s an exceedingly rewarding career.

But keep in mind that it can be very demanding and stressful sometimes—in fact, a survey conducted by PayScale found that 73% of salespeople rated their role as highly stressful.

As a sales manager, you get to handle most activities like meeting quotas, keeping your team accountable, and inspiring and coaching your team. 

There’s hardly a slow day for a sales manager.

To succeed as a sales manager, you need to possess the right personality, skills, characteristics, and strengths. This will help you lead a team of salespeople, create sales plans, set goals, analyze data, and even hire the right team.

Still think being a sales manager is right for you? Well, take a look at the following list of skills and traits essential for every sales manager to succeed. 

Be Always Confident

Confidence in sales means many things—it means being confident in your product, team, company, and even having confidence in yourself. 

As a sales manager, you need to have confidence in what you are selling, whether it's medical equipment or makeup. Trusting and believing that the product you sell will solve your customer’s problems and exceed their expectations is essential, as customers can tell when you’re not a fan of the product.

And it’s not only about your confidence as a sales manager but also in your sales team. Sales reps must see you as someone they can learn from and trust.  Not a boss who tracks results and directs them to sell more.

Effective sales managers usually set reasonable expectations, communicate clearly, and listen. Most importantly, they offer sales training that allows sales reps to develop and improve their selling skills.

Being a sales manager is not something you can take lightly. 

It’s your responsibility as a leader to make sure your team has the required selling skills and knowledge about their industry and product. Being confident in yourself and your decisions is essential for the success of your team. Sales teams will fall apart if their managers are not confident, as managers will find it hard to make tough decisions, lead meetings, communicate candidly with their team, and be open to constructive feedback. 

Lack of confidence will result in a lot of second-guessed decisions and team members challenging your authority. Never underestimate the importance of confidence in leadership. People will be more willing to trust you and invest their time, energy, and loyalty to you — ensuring that you have a winning team.

Sales Managers Don’t Micromanage, They Lead

It’s no secret: no one loves being ordered around. 

Most people don’t have an issue being asked to do something by their boss — that’s part of the job.

But people don’t like it when their boss barks orders at them, interferes with what they’re doing, or micromanages them. 

It usually feels very intrusive and can feel diminishing.

Being micromanaged is less than ideal for most employees, and there are consequences when it occurs. According to Responsesource, over 45% of employees quit their job when micromanaged. This means the company will lose many excellent employees because of bad leadership, which could be avoided.

Avoiding micromanaging your team is essential to their growth and development. It creates the opportunity for individuals to learn from their mistakes and how to do tasks in a way that is most efficient for them. 

Sales managers need to create and share goals with their team, but ultimately, they need to allow their team to come up with their own ways to accomplish those goals.

Leveraging technology is a great compromise for salespeople and managers alike.

Using the right technology will allow managers to keep track of their team and know where they are, what they’re doing, and measure productivity and close rates while not intruding on the salesperson’s day-to-day routine. Managers should use the information they receive to offer each member feedback, support, and motivation to help them become a strong and invaluable part of the sales team.

A great app to take care of these functions for you is Badger Maps. It’s not only great for outside sales reps, but also for sales managers and sales trainers. As a manager of a field sales team, it can be hard to stay up to date with what reps are doing. Badger’s team view makes collaboration easy. You can view the status of team member accounts, view territories, and access your team’s activity.

Managers get ‘Manager View’, which allows them to access team member Check-ins, territories, routes, and activity reports. This information allows sales managers to understand what’s happening in the field and catch problems before they arise. 

Managers are also able to rebalance their reps’ territories and access or edit their routes at any time. With a management tool like Badger, everyone on the team will be on the same page, regardless of where they are in the field.

Know Your Product

Knowledge is power, especially in the world of sales. 

Your sales efforts can stretch only as far as insight and know-how can take you, and product knowledge is the key for both.

Irrespective of the company you’re working for, product information is essential. 

Nowadays, buyers know more than ever thanks to simple online searches. This increases the need for sales managers and salespeople to understand their products inside out.

Having enough information about your product or service allows you to act as an expert for your customers. In turn, you can suggest a solution to a customer and customize your products or services to their needs. 

Ensure that your sales team is as knowledgeable on the product as well. Besides prices and customization, sales reps should learn how to use the product, know the answers to common questions about their product, know common errors that occur when using the product, and the resources they can use when they need assistance with the product. 

Knowing this information will be essential when making a sale.

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Try to Think Positive Whatever Happens

Positive thinking is the cornerstone for career success in sales. It influences your goals, outward attitude towards the job, and the product or service you’re selling.

How you think determines your interaction with prospects, clients, peers, and management every day. If you have a positive attitude, the people whom you interact with will want to continue with you, increasing your customer lifetime value and company sales at all levels.

Besides that, positive thinking results in better health both physically and mentally. A sales career is demanding and challenging, so the ability to think positively will help you remain sane and even advance in your career.

Selling is fun and difficult. You will experience lots of failed attempts. But that’s not your chance to give up. Instead, it is your chance to improve the company’s sales process and even the product.

Implement, Innovate, and Streamline Your Sales Process

Sales managers have to create easy-to-follow sales processes, full of templates, scripts, and training. They have to implement their plan and ensure the team follows it.

During implementation, sales managers have to get rid of things that don’t work in favor of what works and tweak things to make them much better.

Regular planning and implementation can maintain a successful business model that helps your team and company grow over time.

You can learn this skill by designing your own version of a sales plan and documentation. Or you can ask to update an existing plan yourself.

Additionally, pay attention to other tasks that can be streamlined for more efficiency. 

For example, onboarding is essential to getting new members up to speed on your sales process and getting them on the road faster. 

Again, leveraging technology is keen for this process. 

Using the right tech can allow your reps to get a visualization of their terrority, understand their opportunities, and learn company guidelines and processes quicker. 

Communication Skills Are Must-Have

The key to sales success is the ability to collect and offer information that makes customers want to buy your product.

Your product’s price and unique features won’t matter if you can’t get your prospect to talk to you and listen to what you say. From direct marketing to creating a community online, you need to build strong relationships with your prospects.

Communication skills in sales allows you to be attuned to your buyers and understand their needs and pain points. Knowing how your prospects learn, their personality, and what communication style suits them will allow you to adapt your sales strategy accordingly, and sell successfully.

Apart from communication with prospects, the sales manager must learn how to communicate with their teams. 

Developing genuine connections and ensuring that the team feels comfortable asking you for advice, help, and feedback builds trust and makes for a better team. .

As a sales manager, you must pay attention to your team. Spotting problems before they’re communicated to you prevents them from escalating beyond repair and allows you to see where there are holes in your sales process and communication.

Practice active listening and learn how to read body language, and control your own. Additionally, don’t act like you know everything, especially if you don’t. It’s okay to not know the answer to something as long as you’re being honest and transparent with your communication to your team.

Never Forget About Forward-Thinking

Far too often, sales managers are busy, overwhelmed, and caught up in the day-to-day operations of the sales team.  

If you want to succeed in sales, you have to learn how to plan in advance and always think of the future.

Most sales managers make the mistake of focusing too much on the current quarter’s stats, forgetting that there are other upcoming quarters and years. So, you should not only focus on today’s number but also on tomorrow's and the days to come.

Learn about new sales trends to understand what the client truly wants and how you can boost the company sales in the future.

Final Thoughts

Being a sales manager is tough. It’s not just about promoting your top salesperson. It’s about leading, inspiring, motivating, and saying yes to managing. Following these actionable tips will ensure that you have the essential skills to become the best sales manager you can be and will make you a great candidate for any sales manager position. Sometimes it can be hard to place all this information in your resume on your own when applying for sales manager positions. Consider using a resume writing service where they can emphasize these skills and make you stand out from competitors.

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