Like certain salespeople, there are sales managers who seem to succeed no matter where they work or what kind of team they’re given to work with. Salespeople like to joke that most sales managers get in their way more often than they help, but great leadership can often take a struggling team and turn it around. Or take a good team and make it great.
We’ve put together a list of the ten most important things managers of successful teams do. And the more of these a sales manager consistently does, the more likely his or her team will be a successful and efficient one.
1. Managers of successful sales teams are hyper-focused
Just like a successful entrepreneur, a sales leader needs to have relentless focus on the most important goal, which is hitting and exceeding quota. They focus on targets and on deadlines, and drive their teams to these goals while excluding all distractions. This means blocking out anything that doesn’t involve these goals, no matter the circumstances.
2. Managers of successful sales teams provide structure
Effective sales managers are able to control what their teams do on a day to day basis by putting a structure in place for them to follow. This means a sales process that is structured and automated where possible. An informal and or non-existent structure makes it more difficult to steer and control outcomes, which usually means a poor team performance.
3. Managers of successful sales teams understand the numbers
Successful sales teams are led by people who understand their team’s goals, and all of the numbers surrounding them. Whether it’s how many daily activities need to take place to reach a desired outcome or the revenue that needs to be tracked to hit deadlines, successful sales leaders know and keep track of these figures relentlessly.
4. Managers of successful sales teams lead by example
If you want motivate your team to work hard, you need to be the hardest worker in the office. To earn your team’s respect and effort, you can’t be someone who expects others do things you’re not willing to do yourself. Set the right example and your team will follow it.
5. Managers of successful sales teams hold people accountable
This is one key point that separates the most successful sales managers from everybody else. Effective sales leaders are able to create an environment where accountability is part of the team culture. This drives salespeople to perform in order to continually prove themselves to their leadership and their teammates. Which in turn drives up everyone on the team’s overall performance.
6. Managers of successful sales teams devise strategy
A high-performing sales manager doesn’t simply push their team to execute. They devise a strategy that takes into account the business and competitive landscape, their resources, and how best to deploy them. Successful teams are run by people who constantly think about how everybody is spending their time and money. And also how the process can be tweaked to ensure better outcomes.
7. Managers of successful sales teams know how to sell
Sales teams that succeed are run by people who understand sales and are able to provide advice and guidance as needed. Since a sale has so many potential pitfalls, leaders who are experienced can navigate their team by using their own knowledge and sales acumen. Inexperienced leaders will likely have an unrealistic understanding of the business and be unable to dispense the right advice.
8. Managers of successful sales teams hire well
A good sales leader who is unable to hire the best people will always face an uphill battle compared to one that is able to identify and hire the best. Successful sales managers are not only able to identify people who are excellent salespeople, but can recognize those with the potential to become excellent.
9. Managers of successful sales teams tailor their approach
Sales floors are filled with different personalities, each with their own quirks, abilities, and motivations. A successful sales manager understands that different people have their own selling styles. And then they adapt their management style to match each individual. They understand that a one-size-fits-all coaching style is bound to fail.
10. Managers of successful sales teams know how to mentor
Successful sales teams are run by people that they consider mentors long after they’ve parted ways. Great leaders always leave the people in their charge better than when they found them. Lots of us have worked for people who were our managers, but not everyone gets to work for someone who they eventually see as a mentor.