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Sales is the most competitive major profession in the world. There are millions of salespeople scrambling to get an edge on their competitors every single day, fighting for the chance to thrive in their respective field. Working closely with those salespeople are sales leaders whose fortunes are closely tied to how their teams perform.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not always the best salespeople who make the best sales managers, but those who are able to behave like true leaders and figure out a way to get an edge on their competition.

Here are seven ways that sales managers can get an edge:

1. Hire very, very well

If you’re able to recruit and hire the best people, then more than half of your job will already be done. Like a sports team, hiring exceptional people can bring your entire sales team up a notch. Make sure that you’re actively looking for, and know how to spot top sales talent, and are able to nurture it accordingly.

2. Learn how to inspire people

Inspiring people with a vision for how great they could be is the mark of an exceptional sales leader. But this is not something that most people are able to naturally do. Research and learn how to inspire people, whether it’s through books focused on the topic, or by watching other famous inspirational figures and tailoring their message to your audience.

3. Think outside the box in support of the team

If you’re sitting around and simply following the map that has been laid out in front of you in search of new business opportunities for your team, then you’re going to get ordinary results. Extraordinary sales managers are always thinking of creative ways to help their team drum up new business. Most people refuse to go the extra mile or to try something new, and it’s the people who do who will reap the rewards.

4. Focus on the right metrics

Knowing which numbers and key metrics to focus on is much more valuable than trying to focus on every single aspect of your sales reps’ activity. There are some metrics that are infinitely more important than others, and should be prioritized as such. Drive your team to hit the important numbers and everything else will fall into place.

5. Manage each individual on your team accordingly

Every salesperson is different, so assuming that one management style will work for everybody is a mistake. Different people are motivated by different things and respond differently to different management styles, so take the time to learn about your sales reps and what makes them tick, and then communicate with each one accordingly to get their best work.

6. Be the hardest worker on the team

Some people think management means an excuse to sit in an office with the door closed and check ESPN and Politico all day, but those sales managers rarely amount to much and never have the respect of their staff. You should set an example for the rest of your team and be the hardest worker in the office. Lead by example and your team will follow.

7. Use the best (and most helpful) technology

Technology for the sales world is changing faster than ever, and any sales manager looking for an edge would be doing their team and themselves a disservice by not utilizing it. Spiro, the AI-powered CRM can help your team become more productive and effective while giving you better reporting and a more accurate glimpse into their pipelines and what’s moving the needle. Don’t be afraid of new technology, it’ll help you achieve what you want most in your sales leadership role.

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About the Author Ken Kupchik

Ken Kupchik is the creator of Sales Humor and the author of the funniest sales book ever written, The Sales Survival Handbook, which you can order on Amazon.com. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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