Regardless of whether you’ve arrived at your current post through internal promotion or by taking a new position within a new organisation, as a sales manager you’ll want to be the best you can possibly be.
However, being in charge of people brings enormous responsibility which can prove overwhelming if you’re not prepared. Here then are eight insider secrets that’ll help you hone your skills and abilities and achieve the level of success your position demands.
1. Don’t be a shrinking violet.
Perhaps the best way to learn how to be an effective sales manager is to take a look at how not to be one. So now you’re behind your new desk and you’ve never been busier. You’re copied into everyone’s emails and you spend your days reacting to things you shouldn’t be involved in. This style of management is fatal. The fact is, if you want to run a tight ship – and not a sinking one - you need to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in.
2. Tune up your sales team.
Being busy doesn’t mean you’re being productive. Being productive means tuning up your sales team, servicing it, maintaining it and feeding it with your energy and passion. Remember the sales manager who inspired you to climb your career ladder? That’s how your sales staff will be looking at you.
3. Build a selling machine.
Think of your sales staff as individual components of a well oiled selling machine. It’s your job, as chief engineer, to assemble that selling engine and ensure it keeps purring along. That’s what effective sales managers do and, of course, it’s what you should be doing too.
4. Be a resource.
Rather than being shut away in an office pouring over sales figures, make yourself available to support your sales team. Attend appointments with them, help them close sales with the power of higher authority, get on the phone with them and show them you’re willing to get stuck in. They’ll appreciate it and your sales will rise.
5. Nurture your sales talent.
You’re in a leadership role and that requires you to ensure your sales department has a positive, happy and productive sales culture. You can do this through regular sales meetings where ideas are shared, training is provided and successes celebrated.
6. Stamp out negativity.
Negativity is a contagious disease and the last place you need it is in your sales department. It’s vital that you spot problems and address them before damage is done. Better still, sell the idea that negativity is counterproductive (which it is) and instead preach a positive sales message.
7. Set goals and rewards.
The key to motivation is establishing an ultimate destination and setting out the pleasures that await your sales team when they get there. For example “Over the next six weeks we’re going to sell xxx number of yyy and when we achieve that we’ll go out to dinner on me”. Trust me, it works.
8. Don’t hang around the goal mouth
And finally, one of the key things to remember about sales management is that victories belong to your sales team and failures belong to you. The worst thing you can do is sit back and take the credit when things go well. And the best thing? Get involved with your team and lead by example. Do that and you’re on your way to winning.
By Doug Tucker, Managing Director, Sales Commando. More sales techniques, advice and tips can be found in Doug Tucker’s book ‘Sales Commando, Unleash Your Potential’. The book gets straight to the heart of issues, complexities and opportunities and encourages and accelerates personal growth and sales success.