This article will discuss what it takes to be a successful sales manager in 2022 — and beyond.
Sales managers are a critical part of any sales organization. They should be responsible for developing and coaching their team to achieve success — often they remain the main deal closer instead.
Let’s cover the basics, quickly, then dive in.
What is a sales manager?
A sales manager is any person responsible for leading and mentoring a team of sales reps while also ensuring the entire team delivers upon committed sales targets.
In this role, these managers are responsible for hiring, firing, onboarding, offboarding, coaching, teaching, and keeping sellers in your team focused on hitting their committed forecast numbers.
This is not an easy job.
How to become a sales manager
The number one requirement for becoming a sales manager is prior sales experience. You don’t have to be an amazing seller, but you do need to understand the challenges that go along with carrying a bag, owning a number.
During a past podcast episode David Brock, we discussed what businesses need to do to create an environment conducive to sales manager success, hitting upon these topics.
- Define what the job of a successful sales manager looks like. It’s not necessarily your top seller.
- Identify and hire or promote the right people for these jobs.
- Help them understand their job: maximizing the performance of each seller on their teams. From there, what’s expected and how to do it well.
- Train these managers with the skills they are expected to use. As an example, train them on how to effectively coach so their account executives hit targets.
There is so much gold in here from a true expert; give a listen to someone who understands how to enable sales managers and create the environment required for success.
How to be a successful sales manager in 2022
Now that we understand what it takes to become a successful sales manager and how to create an environment in which managers will thrive, let’s discuss some tips on how you can achieve this title.
Learn to coach
Coaching, like selling, is a skill that each of us can learn, and improve upon.
Successful sales managers should have their companies pay for formal training and coaching to help them level up their coaching skills.
Coaching can have the single-largest impact on team performance — don’t fake it.
And — Then Coach the Team
As a sales manager, you are responsible for achieving a team quota.
You could hope that one of your sellers crushes their quota and saves the team overall, or you could focus on making every team member more successful.
Choose the second option.
Help each of your team members improve upon both their strengths and weaknesses, focus your energy on making them 1% better in one area each day or week.
It will pay off.
Get your team training
You can help your team become better sellers each and every day through coaching — but you also need to support them by bringing in experts on areas that will help them succeed.
- Are you using approaches like MEDDIC or BANT? Train them on how to do it right and then course correct via coaching.
- Do you sell in the medical industry? Give them training on the industry and opportunities to sit with experts so they can deeply understand the environment within which they are selling.
- Are you changing the compensation model? Don’t throw it over the wall — train them.
Formal training is always important as a starting point to get people to a common level of understanding. Coaching then helps them internalize it and make it their own.
Help them in their career by learning to be a people manager
Learn what each individual person on your team has for career goals.
Understand what motivates them and what has the opposite effect.
Help them as an individual, not just as a salesperson.
Focus on your professional development
Whether through formal training, books, communities, youtube videos or a combination of each — work on yourself.
And learn more about your customers
Take a moment to forget about quota, overcoming objections, and all things sales.
Talk to people in the industries you serve to understand their jobs and their challenges.
Take time to talk to actual customers to learn about what they like and dislike about your company and your solutions.
Sit in on customer success onboarding calls to understand what causes post-purchase regrets. There are often disconnects between the buying phase and the implementing phase that cause initial frustration. What are those issues and how can you eliminate them?
Get into the shoes of your sellers
Take time for ride-along, virtual or otherwise, to observe what it’s like “in the field” these days. Take time to better understand the current selling environment and avoid trying to make everyone sell as you use to in the past (even if the past was just six months ago).
Final thoughts on how to be a successful sales manager in 2022
If you take time to follow our recommendations, you will greatly improve as a manager and your team’s results will follow. It’s no longer about being the super closer, you have to be a true leader to succeed these days.
Are you ready?