How to Become an Effective Manager of Sales (With Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published May 26, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Meeting sales targets is often vital for any business. That's why companies are typically meticulous when appointing a manager of sales, ensuring the candidate possesses relevant skills, including time management skills, strong communication skills, and exceptional leadership abilities. Understanding what it takes to be a successful sales manager can position you for better effectiveness and enhance your chances of securing a management role in sales.

In this article, we explain what a sales manager is, discuss their possible duties, explore the skills necessary to become one, and share tips on how to become a manager of sales.

What is a manager of sales?

A manager of sales, sometimes referred to as a sales manager, is a professional who sets goals, develops strategies and techniques, and coordinates the efforts of a sales team toward meeting set goals. They may also provide training, guidance, and mentorship for employees as they work to meet sales quotas. These managers can monitor an organization's sales processes, identify bottlenecks, and optimize the processes for maximum sales.

What is the average salary of a sales manager?

The average national salary of a sales manager is $81,791 per year. This amount may vary based on location, company, and experience level. Depending on the company they work for, they may also earn bonuses and commissions and enjoy several other benefits.

Read more: How to Get into Sales in 5 Steps (With Tips and FAQs)

What does a sales manager do?

Though their specific responsibilities can vary from organization to organization, a sales manager typically performs the following functions:

Create and oversee sales strategy

One of the critical responsibilities of a sales manager is identifying a sales strategy for the organization. This responsibility involves instituting sales processes that executives and agents can follow to source and generate customers. Identifying customer buying behaviours and the best channels through which agents can reach them is also usually part of the sales strategy. The sales manager constantly monitors and evaluates this strategy to identify areas for adjustments and ensure continued effectiveness and efficiency.

Hire sales team members

It's often the duty of a sales manager to recruit sales agents to work on their team. This process requires a thorough understanding of the qualities and skills of a good sales representative and the ability to identify these traits in a prospective candidate. Working with the Human Resources department, the sales manager outlines a detailed job description and conducts interviews to find suitable candidates.

Train and mentor sales team members

Sales managers can provide training to sales team members on the company's products or services and relevant sales processes and techniques. For newly recruited team members, managers often focus on familiarizing them with internal sales processes and structures. While for older members of the team, training may focus on revising current methods and updating them on new guidelines.

Managers typically achieve this through regular sales training sessions, in-person workshops, and conferences. They can also motivate and encourage the sales team to meet sales targets. These regular meetings may also serve as a means of monitoring progress toward team goals and discussing challenges sales representatives may be experiencing.

Collaborate with other departments

The sales manager often collaborates with other departments in the organization to ensure the smooth running of sales processes. They typically work with other customer-facing departments, such as customer care and marketing, and product or engineering teams. Developing sales materials and customer personas and building targeted campaigns often require working with the marketing team.

The manager also ensures that the sales team relays customer feedback to the production team for improvements on products or services. These collaborations are typically essential to achieving sales targets and organizational goals.

Read more: How to Compose a Sales Manager Resume (With Example)

How to become an effective manager of sales

As a sales professional considering a job as a sales manager, taking the following steps can help facilitate your path to that position:

1. Acquire sales expertise

The overall objective of every sales team is to make sales. So, to be successful as a sales manager, you may require practical expertise in sales strategy and execution. As a manager, your team members are likely to look to you for direction and instructions on the sales process and how to meet their targets. Having this expertise can help you function correctly in that role. You can acquire sales expertise by working as part of a sales team for two to five years.

2. Learn time management

The sales manager role requires handling several responsibilities, including coaching team members, recruiting and training new salespeople, developing sales quotas and goals, and meeting sales goals. With solid time management skills, a sales manager can organize and maintain schedules, prioritize essential tasks, communicate deadlines and priorities, plan each day for efficiency, and set short- and long-term goals. You can improve your time management skills by prioritizing tasks in order of importance and leveraging technology through scheduling apps.

3. Develop teamwork and team development skills

Sales teams often work together on various goals. As such, sales managers require the ability to build teams that work with a unified vision. To keep members motivated and actively working towards common goals, it's typically necessary for the manager to recognize the individual contributions of each team member.

Managers can facilitate teamwork by encouraging collaboration among team members, allocating tasks based on members' strengths, and setting expectations that the team can meet as a unit. They can also set aside time for team-building activities during and beyond work hours and regularly check in with team members to ensure they understand their roles in the group.

4. Develop effective communication skills

Exceptional communication abilities are often crucial to the success of every sales manager. These skills can determine how well you can convey expectations, goals, and plans with clarity to your team. Effective and open communication can also help you identify the needs of your team members quickly and resolve issues or conflicts as they arise. The manager role also often requires making public presentations on your products or organization.

5. Improve your leadership methods

Having solid leadership skills and methods can help make you a more effective sales manager as the role may typically involve giving direction to a group of people. Being a leader often requires the ability to inspire others to act. You can develop your leadership skills by participating in leadership training courses, consulting resources on leadership like books or podcasts, and volunteering for leadership roles to practice what you're learning.

6. Learn human resource management

Successful sales managers are typically adept at identifying great sales talents, recruiting them, and maximizing their strengths towards achieving organizational sales goals. Managing human resources also includes training to equip team members with the resources necessary to excel at their duties. This management may also involve creating an environment that allows every team member to thrive and reach their potential.

7. Show empathy

Sales managers often require empathy. They can identify the problems every team member faces and appreciate challenges from their perspectives. This empathy can help them proffer workable solutions that take into consideration every team member's unique circumstance and can help build improved relationships. You can develop empathy by listening to others with respect and the intention to understand their views accurately.

8. Demonstrate resilience

Working in sales may require you to meet several conversion and revenue targets. As such, it may be necessary for you and your team to overcome challenges to achieve your goals and meet company deadlines. Showcasing resilience in difficult periods can help inspire and motivate your team members to keep performing. To help build resilience, you can set a clear vision of your main objective and adopt a realistic thinking pattern and strategy for achieving it.

Read more: Important KPI Sales Metrics (With Definitions and Examples)

Tips on being a successful manager of sales

The following are a few additional tips to consider to increase your effectiveness in sales management:

  • Learn how to get your team motivated and use motivation tactics on a regular basis to keep your team engaged and eager to perform.

  • Use a customer-focused sales approach to offer consistent and effective sales training to your team.

  • Create a high-performance work environment that motivates your sales team to perform at their best at all times.

  • Keep track of your team's performance and regularly look for ways to increase effectiveness.

  • Define a standardized process for approaching, qualifying, working with, and closing the customer.

  • Monitor changes and trends to identify and address issues before they become significant problems.

  • Celebrate your team's successes regularly.

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