Sales management is the process of developing a sales force, coordinating sales operations, and implementing sales techniques that allow a business to consistently hit, and even surpass, its sales targets.
What is there to manage?
There are three “umbrellas” to manage within the sales process:
- Sales operations
- Sales strategy
- Sales analysis
There are certain qualities that every great sales manager should possess and acquire in order to make sure their sales team reaches goals and continually grows.
As a leader you need to earn the trust of your team so that they will want to follow you. And earning trust is more about what you do rather than what you say. If what you say doesn’t match up to your actions, your team will not follow your words because they have no trust in those words.
Consistency is another way to earn trust. Through consistency your team feels like you hold true to your promises, maintain high and equal standards all around and, keep to the same rules and regulations as they are expected to hold to.
Trust is about having them know you care about what is good for the team and feeling like you have their best interests at heart. Remember that as much as you feel like you are watching your team, they are also watching your every move closely. If you make a mistake, don’t ignore or gloss over it. Holding yourself accountable can help the team realize that you are a human just like they are and show them that you are adhering to the same standards as they are.
Feedback should be constructive and not destructive. Criticism is important but it should be objective and should be balanced out by positive reinforcement. Too much criticism can easily make the team feel unmotivated to do a good job because their good deeds go unnoticed.
As a sales force manager, you need to set clear expectations and realistic goals. To achieve this, constant feedback is extremely important as it will let team members know where they stand. And feedback should not only be given according to a schedule (like at an annual review). Give spontaneous and continuous feedback so that each salesperson knows how far or close away from their goals they are, as well as knowing why they are doing what they are doing.
Be involved in the process:
Don’t be the sales manager that hides in his or her office without ever knowing what goes on on the floor. Become involved and familiar with the process of sales. The results of selling are important but it is invaluable to know how these results are achieved. Place yourself in the trenches alongside your team as this will develop a sense of closeness and loyalty amongst everyone and drive them to work harder.
Become a mentor to your team:
Having a great sales force starts with hiring the best talent. When you have the best talent, never stop training them. A salesperson may have talent but training helps to bring out that talent. Be a mentor to your team. Coach, give sales advice and provide access to training programmes. Being a mentor that your sales team looks up to allows them to improve their performance and ultimately reach their true potential.
Show them that you are a leader:
Often it is difficult for a sales force to follow someone if that person’s actions do not convey to them that they are a true leader. A leader creates a vision for the team and knows exactly what needs to be done in order to achieve that vision. A leader has the ability to convince their team that they need to adopt this vision and keeps them focused on the steps that need to be followed to get to that vision.
Sales force managers should have the ability to communicate clearly, be innovative and inspiring.