As a Sales Leader, you become the manager of a team of employees. Although every manager is different, there are a few guidelines for managing a sales team that remain consistent for all great managers. As a Sales Leader, following these four standards will help you encourage your employees to be the best they can be and become future Sales Leaders themselves.
Every sales team is different. As a manager, it is your job to get to know the personalities of everyone on your team and find the best way to work with him or her. Having just one method to get things done will not take advantage of your team’s individual strengths. Take the time to discuss how your employee best learns, best takes directions, and is best motivated. Having individual meetings with your team member can make sure you are speaking their language and are offering the best tools to help them make sales. Recognizing that what makes your employee a good salesperson is their individuality and managing appropriately is how a manager generates top talent.
A great sales leader will explain the why. Just giving a team a list of objectives without any follow-up as to why it’s important disconnects your team from the company’s goal. Showing your team how what you’re asking of them affects the company’s big picture can link your team’s actions to tangible results. Measuring individual impact on a company puts positive pressure on every contributor to do their best. Make the sale objective about the employee. How it will benefit their career? How will it help them reach quota? How will it affect a company’s revenue? Answering these questions can help increase motivation to get the job done. Don’t separate your team members from the greater goal by giving them only pieces of the large plan. Showing instead of telling always works best when trying to instill a passion in someone.
A great manager won’t be afraid to “get into the weeds” with their team. Sales depends on maintaining relationships and a manager who is hands on can help this process dramatically. Whether your team needs someone to fill in or add experience, you shouldn’t be afraid to put into practice what you are teaching. Knowing that a manager is fully aware of their pipeline and is on call can give a salesperson the added security to trust their gut. By not separating yourself from the daily life of a sales team, you empower your employees to see you as a mentor and not just someone who delineates tasks from behind a desk.
Lastly, as a sales manager, you need to recognize the two different roles you need to play. Understand the difference between when it is important to build a relationship with your employee and when it is important to hold he or she accountable is a dynamic skill that takes time to learn. The best sales manager knows when to push their team and when to work with them. Holding meetings with your teams outside of work to build a stronger bond and during work to ensure everyone is working to the best of their ability can help with this dual responsibility. As a manager you are both a teammate and boss. Acknowledging this role is important when thinking about your interactions with your team. Above all, being able to maintain the respect of your team by avoiding hypocrisy and instead offering wisdom and a balance is key.