How to be an Effective Sales Manager: Ten Proven Strategies

Kinsey Management, a PerceptionPredict Partner

Sales managers are responsible for a host of intertwining sales and interpersonal roles.  The balance of obligations varies in different organizations, changing markets, and evolving sales teams.  PerceptionPredict strives to innovate strategies that help any sales manager excel at all of their many tasks, exceed their goals, and champion sales teams towards success. 

Here are ten proven and effective strategies for excelling as a sales manager. 

1. Embrace Change

Successful businesses are those that adapt to technological, economic, and client conditions. As a sales manager, you must lead by example by encouraging your team to welcome change. 

In order to survive the constantly shifting tides of technological development and market changes, maintain a stoic demeanor in the face of challenge. Show your salespeople what they stand to gain by harnessing that momentum to their advantage instead of resisting it.  Lead by example by transforming changes and obstacles into opportunities to grow.

When it comes to changes in the makeup or structure of a sales team, predictive analytics tools like PerceptionPredict remove the stress and margin of error from staffing decisions including hires and promotions.

2. Make Recruitment a Priority

Speaking of staffing changes- aspiring to be the best sales manager inherently calls for committing to the recruitment process.  Sales jobs tend to have a high turnover rate, and some of this has to do with a rushed or disorganized recruitment process. When structuring and executing recruitment strategies, remember to explicitly define and state performance expectations.  

Whether you are looking for new people from outside sources, or making hires or promotions from within, PerceptionPredict is your must-have AI-based decision support platform. Have you ever wished for a crystal ball to show you with absolute certainty who would make the most sales, produce the most revenue, and commit to your team long-term?  Our Performance Fingerprints are the next best thing. This predictive analytics tool uses machine learning about research-based traits, your company data, and candidates’ relevant behaviors and attributes to formulate individualized ‘sales DNA.’  The questionnaire takes participants 20 minutes or less and yields their one-of-a-kind profile of KPIs to arm you with the insights you need to hand-pick data-proven distinguished talent.

3. Encourage Continual Growth

What should a sales manager do with top-performing employees? The answer is simple—make sure they never fall into the trap of believing they can’t improve. Some questions that you should have your employees of all performance stages answer are:

  • How can you work more efficiently?
  • What additional resources do you need?
  • Is there anything I can help with or facilitate?
  • What are ways you can more effectively communicate with clients?

According to Forbes, between 43 – 53% of employees feel bored in their workplace. This is another area where you can set a great example and find ways to improve in your own roles as well. By constantly challenging your employees to grow, you might rescue your team from the perils of complacency.

4. Provide Feedback

Being a sales manager means consistently offering feedback in a way that motivates your team members. Set realistic goals for your salespeople and discuss their progress regularly—annual reviews don’t cut it when you have aggressive sales goals.

This includes positive feedback, too. In addition to offering constructive criticism, make sure to praise salespeople who go above and beyond. Recognition and incentives ensure that your high-performing employees remain at the top of their game.  

Real, productive feedback requires that sales managers have a finger on the pulse of their sales team’s performance.  PerceptionPredict offers tools to help continually assess sales performance data based on your business’s KPIs, relevant tasks, and job behaviors.

5. Implement Recurring Training

Markets and Information change all the time, and your salespeople need access to the latest trends pertaining to their job. So, what are the key skills for a good sales manager when it comes to developing training? Below are some suggestions:

  • Teach your employees how to ask their clients questions.
  • Practice sales interactions like phone calls and in-person visits.
  • Provide engaging content that they can refer to.

Aim to schedule training on a specific day of the week or month to cue to your employees that sales training is a long-term company priority.  Ongoing training empowers the whole sales team, including you as the manager, so finding the time to polish and update your own skills goes a long way too.

6. Be Trustworthy

Managing an effective sales team starts by earning your salespeople’s trust. Being direct, clear, and communicative with your team builds confidence in your employees so they don’t need to second-guess the information or instructions you pass down to them. 

Trustworthiness includes maintaining a balanced, approachable yet authoritative demeanor.  Admitting to mistakes is among the noblest ways to build trust. It humanizes you, and your employees are more likely to respect you and turn to you when they make mistakes or need help.

7. Be Visible 

If you want to know how to be an effective sales manager, particularly with less motivated employees, spend more time in the salesroom. Salespeople who don’t meet their goals tend to blame low-quality leads and other factors while overlooking elements within their control.  By engaging with your employees more, acknowledge their struggles, work on improvement one-on-one, demonstrate, and motivate.

8. Bring Energy to the Office

The best sales manager nurtures a positive working environment. They’re the managers who employees look up to for inspiration and to cheer them on. Below are some tips on how to boost the energy in your office:

  • Create friendly sales competitions.
  • Ask a high-performing employee to lead a meeting.
  • Take interest in your team as people- make them feel good about events like vacation time and make a big deal about welcoming them back.

Personability and positive energy are contagious, so the more you generate, the more your employees will exude.

9. Improve Your Communication 

Communication is critical to sales success. So, what are the five most crucial skills required by a sales manager to boost communication? Our suggestions are as follows:

  • Simplify your message.
  • Engage your salespeople during meetings.
  • Allow time for questions and clarification.
  • Develop a resonant voice.
  • Improve your listening skills.

Respected sales managers are effective communicators. Work on becoming aware of your communication skills and constantly aim to improve them. 

10. Streamline Workflow

You want your salespeople to spend their time interacting with as many clients as possible. Therefore, find new ways to make their jobs more efficient. 

One of the most effective ways to identify areas needing improvement is to ask your salespeople about aspects of their day that negatively impact workflow. By implementing logistical strategies or tools that free up your employees’ day, they’ll have more time to make sales and feel less frustrated at the office. 

Become a More Successful Sales Manager with PerceptionPredict

PerceptionPredict Performance Fingerprints aid in determining current and pre-hire sellers’ performance. With the push of a button, garner quantitative information on an individual’s competency in metrics that are important to your company, such as how much revenue they can bring in or product units they can sell.

For any sales manager, developing and upholding a remarkable sales team starts with hiring quality salespeople. At PerceptionPredict, we combine our AI models with your business needs and salespeople’s performance data to evaluate a current or potential employee’s ability to meet your KPI goals. 

Are you ready to lead a more successful sales team? Book a demo with us today, and we’ll show you how to get there.