The job of a sales manager is widely considered to be one of the most demanding of all sales-related roles, requiring the ability to balance a vast number of responsibilities. Indeed, sales leaders must look out for the interests of customers, staff and the business itself, which is why companies invest so heavily in sales management training.
Ultimately, having effective sales leadership can be the difference between success and failure in the business world. In this post, we look at the key elements that contribute towards successful sales management.
1. A Strategic Sales Plan
One of the first and most important jobs for a sales manager is to develop a strategic sales plan, in order to lead their team towards success. This involves identifying a unique selling point for products or services, identifying potential customers, assessing the market and competitors, and setting sales expectations.
“You should develop a forecast of your sales and expenses by month, quarter and year,” says Michael Carter of the Sales Management Workshop. “Include in this forecast sales headcount, units sold, revenue and anticipated margin.”
2. Coaching Ability
Next, a successful sales leader must possess the ability to coach sales staff and help them to maximise their potential. This means taking an active role in formal sales training and helping new recruits to find their feet, but also includes continuously working with staff on a one-to-one basis.
A truly great sales manager will meet regularly with staff, identify areas of weakness or aspects that could be improved, create a development plan with individual targets or objectives, and find ways to reward success.
3. Customer Management
Furthermore, one of the key roles of a sales manager is to manage customers, keep track of consumer opinion and find ways to enhance the relationship between the business and its client base. Customer management techniques include establishing KPIs for measuring customer satisfaction and implementing strategies to cope with queries.
“Frontline sales managers must be viewed and respected by their sales teams as masters of customer management,” says Joe Galvin from the Miller Heiman Research Institute.
4.Leadership By Example
Last, but by no means least, a successful sales manager should lead by example and set the standard for their team. It is important for staff members to have a role model to look up to, and sales leaders must fulfil this role by being active on the sales floor, getting their hands dirty when necessary.
The purpose of leading by example is to positively shape staff behaviours and for this reason, sales managers should be aware of their actions at all time, maintain their own product knowledge and send the right message.