Who’s the first person you look to when it’s time to make a promotion? If you’re going by pure logic, it’s usually the best person on the team. But that’s not always the case for your sales team. Your best sales person may even be your worst sales manager candidate.
Sure, a good salesperson knows how to sell, but how often do managers sell? They may still hit their numbers — hey, they may even surpass them — but the rest of your sales team is left struggling to hit their full potential because they’re not being properly managed. And if your sales team isn’t hitting their full potential, neither is your business. In fact, Cisco Systems estimated that bad bosses cost firms $12 million annually. Imagine how much you could grow your business if even just a fraction of that was filtered back into your businesses? Ready to start looking for the real candidate for your sales manager?
“The characteristics of a good salesperson are money motivated, large ego, and a bit selfish,” said Greta Schulz, founder and CEO of Schulz Sales Consulting. “These are the opposite of what a sales manager should be.”
So, what qualities should you look for in a sales manager? Glad you asked. Schulz suggests finding someone with these three qualities:
- Strong coaching: The last thing you want in any type of manager is a big ego because it can’t, nor should it, always be about them. You need someone who not only knows what to do, but can teach it to others and understand what happened — and why it happened — if a sale didn’t go through.
- Leadership: No one likes being told what to do. The best sales managers will ask their team questions to help them realize on their own what they should do. That way they’ll figure out the answer on their own, and when they do, it’s ingrained in their memory.
- Accountability: Sales beckons a do-it-yourself mentality, but even though they’re on their own, they still need management. Your best sales manager will keep the rest of the team accountable for their activities and coach them through each step of the process to get them closer to the close.
When you find someone whose skills check out, whether they’re homegrown or an outsider, you’re not free from red flags just yet. In order for them to succeed, they need some support from you. You need to give them:
- Proper management training: This is especially the case if your new sales manager has never directly managed a team before.
- The right responsibilities: Your sales manager is not a marketer or an office manager. You promoted them to lead, not to be stuck behind grunt work. They’re there to create the your sales process; staff and train the department; set company sales goals and track progress; and finally, lead and motive the team to hit those goals.
- Freedom to manage their way: Sales managers are the epitome of a middle management role: They have people reporting to them, but ultimately will be reporting to you. Instead of you being involved in every decision, step back and let them lead. Giving someone the freedom to make mistakes will help them learn from their mistakes and correct them.
- Time to learn: One of the worst things that can happen to any manager is them becoming complacent. They get stuck doing the wrong responsibilities, and they lose the designer to learn and better the department. Sales managers need the time to effectively learn what happens between sales call and closed sale, and stay in touch with resources so they keep evolving.
While it’s important to look to other outlets to find the best person for the best job, don’t immediately rule out your best sales person because they may have all of the qualities mentioned above. And if they do, your job just got much easier.
Sales Manager Photo via Shutterstock