Guest Post by Brenda Savoie
A sales manager is a person with the unique position of empowering and influencing the sales reps in a company. Turning around an entire team and increasing sales is a must if you want the company to succeed, but many managers fail to acknowledge this and allow even the smallest barriers to turn into big issues.
Fortunately, it does not take a lot to increase the positive impact a sales manager makes on the team.
According to Jessica Jang, a content manager at Bestessays, ”there are three key points a sales manager must pay attention to: motivation, alignment and performance.” Facing some pressure is common and not at all strange, but if you want to be a successful sales manager, you must come to work ready, and lead the team to success.
For those who don’t know how to manage sales effectively, it is best to learn from the best.
Here are the 12 habits every effective sales manager must possess in order to thrive in the workplace.
1. Pick Your Ideal Buyer Persona
Your task as a manager is to lead others in the right direction.
It won’t really matter how many hours you put in, or how hard you all try if you do not focus on the right audience. Therefore, your first task as a sales manager is to pinpoint the audience you want to sell to. Once you do that, you need to focus all the sales and strategies on your ideal buyer persona. This is a key step in increasing sales.
2. Prepare Ahead
What does it mean to “prepare ahead?”
It means that your job as a sales manager does not only comprise of the leading you will do while at work.
Having such a high position comes with big responsibilities, one of them being planning your actions ahead.
You are the one leading everyone else, so you mustn’t make mistakes. If you do, this may result in a failure of the entire team, which reflects badly on you as a manager. For that reason, you must consider every decision and its possible outcomes before guiding your team in that direction.
This is not as hard as it sounds. All you need is a bit of research and organization, and you can make an informed decision.
3. Hire Talent
Before you even start guiding a team, you need to find that team.
Do things right from the beginning – you cannot expect too much from people without the experience or expertise in the field you are working in.
Be selective and hire the best talent available. If you want the best results, you need the best team. Of course, this requires a higher investment, but will save you loads of money and time in the long run.
Hiring unqualified workers will result in more expenses on training, and provide you with no guarantee of success. Also, you’ll be spending valuable time setting the basis for the job, not doing the job itself.
4. Know Everything about the Product
In order to sell something, you need to know everything there is to know about it.
Your task as a sales manager is not only to find the target audience and focus the product toward them, but also learn everything there is to know about the product to be able to sell it.
If you know what your product is all about, you will know who your target audience is. Who needs what your product can provide? Who has the ability to purchase the product? Is the product widely available on the market? Are your prices competitive?
All these questions will help you make better decisions regarding the marketing and sales strategy.
5. Focus on Pipeline and Management
Talking to your team about forecasting and pipeline is very important.
This is why you need to know the difference between the two.
While forecasting puts the focus on late stage deals, pipeline focuses on the sales development in future. Therefore, the need for pipeline management is essential to a good sales strategy, since it will ultimately impact the forecasts and future success.
6. Build Strong Relationships
To be an effective sales manager, you must build strong relationships with the team.
Once you achieve this, you can easily set the expectations, motivate them and track their progress.
So, in addition to being the team’s boss, be their leader and mentor. This will help you boost their motivation and improve the team’s performance.
We all know the ‘bad boss’ type.
You cannot just give out orders and judge employees. You also need to lead them and take the time to acknowledge their successes. This relationship building will keep them motivated, and help you increase sales.
7. Believe in Your Product
Solely understanding the product can help your sales strategies, but will not keep you motivated in leading the team.
Without motivation, you cannot build a positive atmosphere in the workplace, or motivate others to sell a product you do not believe in.
Ultimately, the best way to convince someone that your product is the best is to believe in this yourself.
8. Always Follow Up
Your goal will always be to have all the sales and management components flowing under a regular schedule and standard.
However, sometimes things will go the wrong way, even if you have originally succeeded in leading your team into selling. This is where the eighth rule comes into play – always follow up.
If you see that a strategy is working, keep implementing it. If sales increase, follow up. Your task isn’t only to set the work of the team, but to maintain and manage it at all times.
9. Be Willing to Challenge Your Team
Your team may need a challenge as a way to become motivated.
Give them something to strive for to increase motivation and therefore, sales. You can try giving out bonuses if someone completes a challenge, or set up a competition to keep them motivated in increasing sales.
Most importantly, let your team know their work is valued. Acknowledge their achievements, even if they are small ones.
10. Practice Accountability
It is very easy to hold the salespeople responsible for all mistakes and errors, but if you want to be a successful sales manager, you must hold yourself accountable, too.
As a manager of your team, you are basically accountable for every failure they make.
Of course, your employees can make a mistake or disobey your orders. However, in most cases, the mistakes are a result of an error in management, and every bad result on a sale is a result of something you missed.
Perhaps you did not train or motivate that particular employee properly. You may have even spent little time on choosing your employees. Or, maybe you failed to develop the team’s skills and this is why they keep failing. And while this is their mistake as salespeople, it is yours as a sales manager, too.
It is only by accepting this as a challenge to improve that you can become a better manager and in turn, boost sales.
11. Create a Positive Work Environment
Yes, your sales team will make a mistake and of course, you should point that mistake out so that they do not repeat it.
However, you cannot build a terrible work environment where salespeople keep counting down the minutes until they can go home.
It is quite simple: If you want your reps to be working, you need to make them want to work.
12. Use Technology
Technology has developed a lot in the past decades, allowing every business to handle tasks easier and faster.
Make no mistake – you need to use the power of technology to the company’s advantage.
There are many ways technology can help you increase sales. You can use various programs and apps for sales automation, sales hiring, storage and even sharing important information with your team.
Once you start implementing these habits into your managing strategies, you will immediately start noticing positive results. It is not enough to just set one successful strategy. Your task as a sales manager is to always be ready and informed on the latest and best ways to guide your team.
About the Author
Brenda Savoie is a content marketer, life coach, and desperate dreamer. Writing her first romance novel. Seeking contentment through mindfulness. Check her blog BestWritingClues.