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Needed Qualities of a Sales Manager Include Proactive Management Style

November 07, 2013
By Daniel Brecht - Contributing Writer


As the name suggests, a sales manager is a person that manages sales. This is a carefully chosen individual who often helps the company’s sales team close/secure a deal, or manages the movement of a product or service. It is a high-pressure, stressful job; sales managers, in fact, are responsible and accountable to ensuring a company hits its sales targets.


The structure and effectiveness of the sales department rests on their shoulders. They not only have to ensure the sales staff does its job and meets sales objectives, but are also often overburdened with administrative work and reports to bring in to discuss at sales meetings.

A sales manager is a person with a natural ability to keep an organization on track, improve morale and promote productivity. He or she is one of the most important leaders in an organization as they are left in charge of critical assets and/or the revenue they generate. Ultimately, this is the person that ensures the company achieves its sales goals and, therefore, plays a key role in the success and failure of an organization.

Sales managers must be team players and need to be actively involved in the collaborative sales process and sales coaching (i.e., explaining, telling, encouraging, empowering) of staff. One-on-one coaching of a salesperson is a common practice today in managerial positions; in fact, according to a posting on the Business 2 Community website, a particular Fortune 500 Company has its managers spending as much as 85 percent of their day engaged in such sessions, while devoting less time doing everyday clerical tasks.

On the same site, however, were noted the results of the company’s recent climate survey that discovered “low sales morale, an unacceptably high sales turnover rate and poor ramp-up to quota for new hires.” This gives a clear indication that management and staff is doing what it takes to support sales efforts, but not enough, perhaps, to deal with employee morale issues, promote productivity and workplace changes that can drive the team during tough times.

Therefore, sales managers’ interaction with the sales staff has an obvious impact on the business. It is they who help all team members realize their individual potential. Their role can either enhance or degrade the company's performance, as well as its morale.

In the company's best interest, as a leader, the manager ought to keep in touch with team morale and understand how to motivate sales people. He or she should be directly involved in the development of the sales staff.

Not all sales managers are alike; in fact, each has a particular management style, which depends on their work-related behaviors, character and attitude. Some have reactive customer-service-type personalities, and others have the ability to do proactive work.

Reactive is a person that is “constantly fighting fires,” solving everybody else’s problems and usually focusing on their own priorities; proactive, rather, is an individual that holds people accountable for their actions, acts accordingly and does not require detailed instructions. They are dedicated, motivated and engaged. Their focus tends to grow the team’s skills and manage the status quo.

Additional characteristics of a proactive sales leader/manager include:

  • People-oriented: They are able to communicate with sales reps and educate (coach) them on their accomplishments and successes. This feedback allows sales people to understand the good and bad of their own performance. As team players, sales managers are able to motivate the sales force.
  • Well-organized: Such a leader tends to have well-organized sales meetings with the team. As leaders of the team, they set the example for others to follow and provide reps with the support and training they need to excel.
  • Action-orientated: They usually establish a sales action plan for the sales team to fulfill company goals.
  • Tactic-orientated: Such a leader is able to teach team members valuable sales closing methods and tips.
  • Effective communicator and morale booster: This has a huge impact on the effectiveness of their team. He or she is able to have reps on board with the team vision.

These are five common characteristics that make a sales manager stand out as having a proactive management style. Hiring or having such a sales manager ensures services are at their best. What’s more, they are also able to anticipate problems in the team so things can be sorted out early in ensuring that everyone is always onboard to reach the common goals of the company: to build, expand and optimize sales efforts.




Edited by Rory J. Thompson



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