Not every sales person makes a great sales manager. In fact, some salespeople have no desire to become a manager. The skills that make someone a terrific sales person are not the same ones needed to successfully manage people.
If you’ve got your sights set on becoming a sales manager, now’s the time to start developing the skills that will get you noticed.
Job Skills 101
Take a look at the different skillsets that both positions require:
Love to sell
Challenged by selling
Motivated by income potential
Love dealing with people
Challenged by relationships
Motivated by a consistent income
Don’t mind corporate structure
Aren’t deterred by meetings and office politics
Must-Have Managing Skills
Here’s a closer look at what the role of sales manager entails, day in and day out.
A sales manager has to be motivated to teach, because part of the job is ensuring the success of individual salespeople. Salespeople need education in the art of selling and following up.
Managers must know how to hold employees accountable to meet sales goals, and motivate the team.
Sales managers also have to identify when a salesperson is frustrated or reaching burnout. By identifying these signs early on, the manager can implement a plan to restore the sales person’s motivation and drive.
A good sales manager has to act as a buffer between management and the sales team. It’s a fine line to walk. The manager must be firmly entrenched in both camps and understand the frustrations of each group.
Here’s an example of how this works: If the salespeople aren’t totally sold on the value of the product, as the manager, it’s your duty to get them to believe in the product. Even when it may not be the best product on the market. It’s also your responsibility to get on board with management’s position. If the company isn’t willing to invest more to manufacture a higher-quality product, you have to support the position. It’s your job to give salespeople the tools they need to believe in and sell the product.
The mindset of the sales team is another critical factor that can lead to success. As the sales manager, you’re in the unique position to influence this mindset.
Your job as a coach is to identify where your team’s weaknesses lie, and then provide the tools to overcome them.
It’s your job to motivate your team to work hard and put in the time to train them. As a result, when they’re “in the field,” they’ll pull out a win every time. It’s your duty to identify people on the team who have the skills but lack the motivation—and vice versa—to succeed. And then you have to equip them.
Not every salesperson is destined to become a sales manager. If you have your eye on the prize and want to move up the ladder, it’s important to realize that your current skillset is not the same one you need in management. Consider getting a mentor who’s also a manager, either in your company or in the industry. This person will act as your teacher, buffer and coach—and help you achieve your next career goal.