Key Skills of an Effective Sales Manager
Being a sales manager is a team activity requiring that you get results through others. The main problem with sales management is that most sales managers are not trained or skilled in sales management. Most are promoted because they did a good job in sales. But sales is an individual activity requiring individual motivation, key skills and achievement. These are totally different requirements.
The best news is that as a sales manager, you are in a great position to achieve all your personal and financial goals in life. There are no limits to how far you can go except the limits you place on yourself with your own lack of knowledge and skill.
The Law of Three
Perhaps the most important personal productivity tool ever discovered is what we call the “Law of Three.” This law says that 90% of all of your results and eventually, your income, come from only three of your daily activities.
When we work with managers like yourself, we have them make a list of everything they do in the course of a week or a month. We then have them ask the magic question; “If I could only do one thing on this list all day long, which one activity creates the greatest value to my business?” The answer to this question usually jumps off the page.
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We then ask the second magic question: “If I could only do two things on this list all day long, which would be the second activity that contributes the most value to my company?” This answer is usually obvious as well.
Then we ask the third question, “If I could only do three activities all day long, what would be the third activity that contributes the most value to my company?” This answer soon becomes clear as well.
Well, fortunately, in sales management, we already know the answers to this Law of Three exercise. For sales managers, they are: 1. Recruiting, 2. Training, and 3. Managing.
Make a list of your key skills, if you give yourself a grade of one to ten in each of these areas, recruiting, training, or managing, you’ll know immediately where you are strong and where you are weak.
Here is a discovery: Your weakest skill sets the height of your success and determines the value of your contribution. You can make more progress by going to work on your weakest area than you can by working on any other task. And the best news is that all sales management skills are learnable. You can learn any key skills that you need to learn to achieve any goal that you set for yourself.
3 Key Skills for a Sales Manager
With regard to these “big three” for sales managers, each of them- recruiting, training and managing- can be broken down into three skill areas as well.
Salespeople Must Be Results Oriented
In recruiting, number one is to be results oriented. You must be clear about exactly what results you want this particular salesperson to produce and you must make it clear in the interview exactly what these results are. It is amazing how many salespeople are hired with the wrong idea of what the job requires of them.
The third part of good recruiting has to do with the personality of the recruit, or the “fit” between the recruit and the company. Some salespeople are suited to one type of environment and some people are suited to another. The best way to determine the proper fit is to make sure that you genuinely like and appreciate the prospective salesperson.
Provide Excellent Sales Training
The second key to sales management success is training. This can also be broken down into three parts. First, identify the key skills that the salesperson will need to have in order to make sales in a competitive market, especially with your product or service. Second, teach the new recruit these key skills. Go out with them on calls and watch them perform. Give them audio programs to listen to and either conduct or send them to sales seminars. Remember, you cannot expect a person to perform in a skill area where they have not been trained and taught in advance. The third part of training is for you to follow-up and reinforce what you have taught, or what the salesperson has learned. Always remember that sales training is a process that goes on throughout the life and career of the salesperson. You have to work on it all the time to maintain levels of high performance.
Be an Effective Sales Manager
The third part of the Law of Three is managing. There are three key skills to managing salespeople effectively. First, set clear sales goals and quotas for each person. Each person must know exactly what he or she is required to accomplish. Second, set clear plans of action in terms of prospecting, making appointments, following-up and so on.
Manage and motivate by objectives. Once you and the salesperson are absolutely clear about what you need that salesperson to accomplish, you should continually encourage him or her to engage in the activities, every single day, that will lead to those sales results.
The good news is that all sales management skills are learnable. If you can ride a bicycle or drive a car, you can learn, step by step, how to become absolutely excellent as a sales manager. You can be the best in your job if you want to be.
Thank you for reading this article on how to an effective sales manager. By training your salespeople key skills and to become results oriented you can achieve ultimate success. Please share this article with others and comment below!
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About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.