Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
This phrase in Latin literally translates into “Who will guard the guards themselves?”
Now let’s apply this to sales: Who will train the sales trainers themselves?
Sales managers are tasked with training new hires. However, they often have limited to no training themselves before they assume their managerial duties. In most cases, the salesperson with the most impressive number gets promoted then left to fend for themselves. In other scenarios, managers from a different department are transferred to the sales department. This group typically lacks essential knowledge of the sales process.
So many mistakes!
Did you know that, according to Forbes, bad sales managers cost their organisations $3.5 million? That number is how much money a business loses per incompetent sales manager.
As a business owner, executive, or sales manager, you need to look at the sales manager position with new eyes. They are in desperate need of support, so what is the best way to set them on the path to prosperity?
Two words: sales courses.
Sales courses aimed at sales managers are a surefire way to update sales managers’ key skills. Armed with this new set of skills, they’re set to successfully lead a team.
Have you ever heard of custom sales courses? We carefully listen and expertly assess the needs of your management team. The answer to “Who will train the sales trainers themselves?” Dynamo Selling! Contact us for an obligation-free consultation today.
To better understand what skills an impactful sales manager should have, we need to appreciate what a sales manager does.
What Today’s Sales Managers Do
The reality is that role of sales manager has evolved beyond crunching numbers and barking orders. As the responsibilities of sales managers continue to evolve, the skill set necessary to make the grade expands as well.
Sales managers are the key to an organisation’s fortune or failure as they oversee the achievement of sales targets and generate revenue or losses for the company. In addition, their decisions and actions will cause a chain reaction up and down the chain of command.
Here’s a quick overview of what sales managers do:
- Set targets that are challenging yet achievable
- Plan and budget to reach predetermined sales goals
- Predict and prepare for shifting consumer trends
- Find or create new strategies to boost profits
- Inspire and motivate the sales team
- Track the performance of each team member
- Collect, analyse, and report on necessary data
- Recruitment, hiring, and firing of talent
- Form and maintain relationships with clients and coworkers
You may notice that some points may not apply to your situation, or a few are not included. That’s because the responsibilities of sales managers will vary based on the size and protocols of their company.
But what do all sales managers have in common? The ability to improve their skills exponentially with a simple sales course.
According to research by Vantage Point and the Sales Management Association, more than half of the companies they surveyed allocated less than 25% of their training budget to sales managers. They performed at or around their goal.
On the other hand, companies that invested more than half of their sales training budget in management outperformed their goal by a stunning 15%!
The sales manager were able to learn the skills necessary to surpass their target.
The numbers are talking, and they are telling you to train your sales managers. Your bottom line will thank you.
A lot is riding on your sales managers, mainly your name and reputation of your organisation. Don’t blindly choose a sales course that will waste your sales managers’ valuable time. We are passionate about moulding management to meet and exceed expectations. Also, keep in mind that we provide world-class training for your sales team as well. The first step towards skyrocketing revenue is a quick call or email away!
Now let’s answer another question: what skills do successful sales managers possess?
There are three key areas: communication, leadership, and balancing.
Three Key Skills Required to be an Outstanding Sales Manager
1. Communication Skills
Without the ability to communicate clearly and effectively, sales managers are almost guaranteed to fail. They must be good communicators to coordinate with vendors, manage employees, and build trust with customers. Easier said than done, right?
Communication skills are further divided into two categories: persuasion and people.
What happens if a salesperson is unable to persuade customers to purchase their product or service? Either the company ceases to exist, or that salesperson ceases to have a job.
The sales manager is present in interactions between the company, its salespeople, and prospects. As a result, they bear a responsibility to all three. This is where the ability to persuade comes in.
For example, a sales manager must use the power of persuasion to:
- Convince executives that their strategies will work
- Convince the sales team that they are capable of reaching targets
- Convince clients to choose their company over competitors
As such, persuasion is a branch of communication skills.
The most important aspect of persuasion is active listening. To actively listen, the sales manager must give their full attention to the person speaking. When a manager listens well, they can fully understand the other person’s message and reply to make them feel heard and valued.
A foremost expert in persuasive communication, Dean Brenner, suggests three ways to actively listen: ask questions, take notes, and repeat key points.
How would you rate your persuasion skills?
Sales managers would not be able to do their jobs without the hard work of their sales team, the purchasing power of customers, the support of the vendors, and the guidance of executives.
What do all these groups have in common? They are all people!
Having strong people skills may seem like an obvious skill for good sales managers to have, but what does that really mean?
In the broadest sense, people skills translate into relationship skills. A sales manager must be able to build rapport with the people they work with and form solid, professional relationships with them.
The most effective way to do so is by cultivating high levels of emotional intelligence (otherwise known as emotional quotient or EQ). EQ is a psychological concept proposed by Daniel Goleman in the mid-1990s and is highly relevant to today’s sales industry.
At its core, EQ is about establishing a deep connection with another person through empathy, emotional awareness, and self-regulation.
In fact, according to the World Economic Forum, emotional intelligence is one of the most important skills to have by 2025.
Here at Dynamo Selling, we offer a wide variety of sales courses that are guaranteed to elevate your skills to the next level as you prepare to dominate your competition. We provide training in the areas of communication, emotional intelligence, persuasion, body language, and more! Don’t hesitate to ask us for more information.
2. Leadership skills
Sales managers are leaders who must use advanced leadership skills to manage their teams. However, the topic of leadership is broad and multilayered.
Here, we focus on the three M’s of leadership skills. A phenomenal sales manager must be able to motivate, move, and manage a team.
When you hear the word “motivation”, your mind may automatically recite phrases from those posters that are plastered on cubicle walls. Like a kitten hanging from a rope below the words “Hang in there!” Or the image of a popular motivational speaker may pop up in front of you.
Motivation comes from different sources and in many forms.
Top sales managers can customise motivation, and they realise that what motivates one person to perform may not be as potent for the next person.
For instance, one team member is highly motivated by a cash bonus, whereas another is more determined to reach a goal if awarded paid time off.
Money is a powerful motivator, but effective sales managers motivate their team by highly supporting every person on their team.
Motivating your team and moving them to perform is important, but that’s not what we mean by “move.” Moving and guiding your team towards a clear goal is a skill all great salespeople have.
Imagine this: you turned on your car; it has a full gas tank, and the engine is revved up and ready to go. You’re about to shift the gear into drive, but you have no idea what your destination is. Or you do know where you want to go, but you don’t know how to get there.
Sales managers give their team direction. Without the skill or ability to guide, the sales team would be lost or wouldn’t move as they remain in the same place.
As much as we admire sales managers’ glamorous, Hollywood-esque lifestyle, we must also acknowledge the not-so-fabulous side of managing.
Sales managers can’t just give a series of motivational speeches and call it a day. In addition to motivational and guiding skills, exceptional salespeople also have excellent managerial skills.
These types of skills are crucial to complete the following tasks:
- Meeting and enforcing deadlines
- Preparing a presentation
- Follow-up on communications with contacts
- Collecting data
- Giving and receiving feedback
- Managing projects
- Negotiating contracts
- Resolving conflicts or complaints
- Writing reports
Which one of the “M-skills” of leadership is your strong suit as a sales manager? The ability to motivate, move towards a stated goal, or manage efficiently? What areas are you lacking in and why?
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a deep breath and give us a call. Watch as your sales managers develop a wide array of skills and thrive under our leadership. Luckily, dialling our number or sending us a message doesn’t require a lot of skill!
3. Balancing skills
Think of a tightrope walker. How are they able to walk across that thin rope without falling? While they have excellent balance, their chances of reaching the other side without tumbling down are increased by holding a balancing pole.
Sales managers juggle multiple tasks and responsibilities all day. So think of their skills as a balancing pole. Without this balancing pole to balance daily duties, sales managers are likely to struggle, lose their footing, and ultimately dropdown.
To illustrate the point, here are three instances where the ability of a sales manager to balance two things at once comes into play. After all, they must be:
- Flexible yet firm
- Optimistic yet realistic
- Professional yet personable
The ability to be at the front leading the team and be in the trenches with everyone else is one of the most challenging yet most important skills a sales manager can have.
Are you confident enough in your balancing abilities to take on that managerial tightrope?
Are Your Sales Manager Skills Up to Par?
The skills a good sales manager needs is diverse and ever-evolving. It’s easy to feel overrun by the sheer weight of responsibilities, but you can do it. Running a booming business with an extraordinary team of sales managers at the helm is possible.
Our sales courses are jam-packed with the skills sales managers need to prosper and help grow all aspects of your business. Let us know what your cares and concerns are. Contact us now!