Last Updated on January 18, 2023 by Dave Schoenbeck
As your business expands, there may come a time when you need to think about hiring a manager to lead your sales department. This is a crucial decision that should not be taken lightly, as the right sales manager will have a massive impact on your business. But what are the qualities of a good sales manager? Here’s what you need to know.
What makes a great Sales Manager?
A sales manager is usually responsible for hiring, training, and managing sales staff members. So it stands to reason that you’d want a great salesperson for the job, right? But, unfortunately, it’s not that easy.
Before you start thinking about promoting from within, it’s often said that the best salespeople can make the worst managers. This is because the necessary skills for sales managers and salespeople are different, even if there is some overlap. For example, your top salesperson might understand how to sell without the qualities of a good sales manager.
For example, salespeople naturally find ways to tell people what they want to hear. Their goal is connection and camaraderie, and they strive to avoid conflict. Unfortunately, this can make it hard for salespeople to provide honest feedback to their direct reports.
It’s also hard for a salesperson to entrust a client they know very well to a new hire. Their instinct is to do anything to preserve the relationship, but a good manager must let their team make mistakes to learn from them. Jumping in to smooth things with a client removes the opportunity for the new hire to learn to handle that situation.
A great sales manager will have all the experience of a great salesperson combined with the traits of a great leader. Here are three essential qualities of good sales managers that you should look for, whether hiring an external candidate or promoting from within:
- Provides honest feedback. As mentioned above, a sales manager can’t avoid giving honest feedback, even when criticism is required. Seasoned emotional intelligence can help the delivery to prevent hurt feelings whenever possible, but it should never come at the cost of minimizing their observations.
- Able to teach, not just do. This might be one of the most important skills for sales managers. A sales manager must have a deep understanding of selling to the company’s clients and be able to impart that knowledge to others. Unfortunately, plenty of exceptional salespeople are lousy teachers.
- Has patience. The average salesperson talks fast and moves quickly. A sales manager must be able to slow down and invest in training their team. They must be good listeners and understand that new hires will take time to train and improve their skills. Being okay with that is part of being a good manager.
Do you want more sales manager tips ? As a retail and e-commerce business coach, I can help you define and evaluate the perfect sales manager for your business. Fill out my contact form to schedule a free video coaching session, and we can discuss the skills needed for a sales manager.