Sales is the most crucial function for any organization around the world. The sales department is responsible for generating revenue, achieving the product or service sales target, creating a customer base, and retaining existing customers.
The person responsible for managing the sales team in a B2B or B2C setting is called a sales manager.
A sales manager drives the sales and the team of an organization. Hence the role of a sales manager is crucial for a profound impact on an organization’s success.
Let’s take a look at the essential qualities and skills of a great sales manager –
- Target setting – HBR interviewed 1000 sales managers and found that the best managers are target and deadline driven. Target setting is the primary responsibility of the sales team. The targets need to be realistic, achievable, and measurable. A self-motivated, target-driven, and priority-focused manager is ideal for setting the most favourable goals or targets for all.
- Analytical skills – A major part of target or goal setting is the ability to interpret data carefully to set optimal targets based on available resources. Keen observation, an eye for detecting trends or identifying patterns, computing numbers to forecast future demands, and anticipating any variations or discrepancies in the data are must-have skills for a salesperson.
- Leadership – Successful leaders are the ones who get others to follow them. Hence leading a team of sales executives requires one to stay calm in crisis situations, cope with high-performance pressures daily posed due to the nature of the job, be empathetic towards the team, understand the needs of the team, be open to communication, resolve conflicts, and maintaining a healthy working environment. In such cases, being self-driven and target-focused helps in team motivation and boost team performance.
- Communication – A manager has the important task of maintaining healthy, transparent, and strong communication between employees. Strong communication and interpersonal skills of a sales manager help to accurately deliver information, delegate tasks, and build & maintain a profitable relationship with clients.
- Recruitment & training – Sales manager is responsible for hiring the right talent that will contribute to the profitability of the business. The proper hiring, training and orientation of the hired talent are crucial to achieving the desired performance level.
- Motivation – Sales process can be mentally taxing and hence constantly boosting motivation and ensuring the focus of the executives on the target is essential. The manager is expected to boost the employee morale in case of bad performance and appreciate them if the team performance is as desired. Framing a proper and fair incentive policy is necessary to motivate employees to perform better.
- Time management – Hitting the rod when it is hot requiring a keen sense of timing. Missing the moment means going out of fashion. A sales manager role requires one to imbibe this key skill of time management to be accurate about the timing, making the best out of the opportunities they get that result in a sale.
- Experience and Intuition – A person is promoted to a managerial level based on their talent and experience. A good manager listens to their intuition and experience. Decisions are made based on data as well as past experience, hence a manager who is well-versed with the market conditions takes better decisions than a fresher.
- Problem-solving – Any market is volatile and unpredictable and there are many external factors affecting the strategies such as political, legal, environmental, social and economic. Hence, quick adaptability and a problem-solving attitude go a long way.
- Risk-taking – Due to the dynamic nature of the profile, risk-taking is often a part of the job. Sales being the source of bread and butter for the organisation involves higher risks and variable factors. Hence is expected to possess the sale manager qualities of being calm, a risk-taker, diplomatic, calculative, and adaptable.
A manager who exercises control, motivates the team, monitors the team’s performance, is self-motivated, and has a deep business acumen is usually preferred by any organization.
Though most of the qualities of sales manager skills are inherent, some need to be acquired.
MIT School of Distance Education (MITSDE) is one such institute that understands the current skills gap in the market and strives hard to reduce it. For this purpose, MITSDE brings to you PG Diploma in Marketing Management (PGDM Marketing Management) or PGDM (Executive) in Strategic Marketing Management for those possessing 2+ years of experience. This course covers the basics & the latest concepts in marketing gives hands-on training on the latest tools and teaches you to create a brand, analyse market trends, and design marketing campaigns.