What Are the Qualities of Top Sales Managers?

Sales managers make or break sales teams.  A high-performing sales manager is invaluable to an organization, as they are the driving force behind revenue and company growth. We find that the best sales managers have distinct qualities that separate them from the rest.

 Here are the top 15 qualities of high-performing sales managers.

1. Listening and Communication

The ability to listen and communicate well are some of the most important skills when managing a sales team.  These abilities are prerequisites for many other components of sales management.  Sales managers who can communicate build rapport, keep people on track, and brings their sales team up with them. 

2. Adaptability

Markets, staff, goals, and strategies change.  Exceptional sales managers not only recognize what’s going on but continually adjust to evolving environments.  They adapt to the different kinds of people on their teams- a range of personalities and experience levels.  They think on their feet to tailor their approach and manage even those they don’t automatically understand or relate to.

3. Better Trained

One of the crucial elements behind great sales managers is training.  The notorious trope, which research confirms to be true, is that “companies promote their best salespeople to become their worst managers.”  Sales and management are completely different roles with independent competencies.  PerceptionPredict’s Performance Fingerprints can help in promoting and hiring by using specific attributes and competencies to quantify candidates’ likelihood of success in a given role.  

Still, salespeople promoted to management usually don’t have experience managing yet, so ample training and onboarding are vital.  Whether through supervisor mentoring, peer mentoring, and/or independent learning, the process of learning management-specific skills is an absolute necessity.  Additionally, the return on investment of sales manager training is notable. Companies that use half their sales training budget on training management “beat their goals by 15%.”

4. Mentorship

Coaching an effective sales team involves directly spending valuable time with staff, monitoring, developing, guiding, and providing honest feedback.  In order for a team to excel, a good sales manager needs to inspire and facilitate each person’s growth.  

5. Hire Well

Hiring decisions are arguably the most meaningful responsibilities for sales managers.  The latest research argues that “companies that have winning sales forces start with excellent managers” because “excellent managers consistently recruit the best sales talent.”

ResourcefulSelling.com reports that 72% of great sales managers “rate their salespeople as excellent or above average,” and “only half of the average sales managers said their teams were that good."  

Sales managers have a fundamental role in determining the make-up of teams.  It’s in their best interest to guarantee the best hires possible.  Using PerceptionPredict Performance Fingerprints is one of the best ways for sales managers to hire the best people for the job.  Sales experience provides some advantages in selecting salespeople, but we strategically use AI, sales data, and human attributes to make the process failproof.

6. Priorities

The best sales managers differentiate and rank their own roles and the roles of their team.  They prioritize “what’s most important for driving long-term performance” instead of defaulting to “tasks that are urgent or within their comfort zone.”  They maximize their time for principal responsibilities and find ways to help salespeople win.  Comprehension of prime goals and strategies inspires the team and contributes to their collective performance.

7. Accountability

It’s critical for sales managers to have consistent expectations for themselves and their team.  Outstanding leaders always lead by example to garner respect. 

One study finds that “75% of top sales managers consistently measure performance and hold salespeople accountable for their quotas.”

8. Motivation

Culture is integral to sales teams’ achievement.  Sales managers motivate with positive attitudes, encouraging members of the team through challenges, recognizing and reinforcing effort and accomplishments.  Excellent managers motivate excellent salespeople, develop average salespeople to make them excellent, and keep the entire team engaged and aligned.

9. Empathy and EQ

Salespeople are, above all, people.  They have individual strengths, weaknesses, and life circumstances, and they unavoidably bring those to the office.  Forbes observes that the cohesion and productivity of any team necessitates a manager who is sensitive to emotional climates and understands “they are more than just a revenue stream.” 

10. Assessment

The administrative and strategic position compels sales managers to track sales teams’ job performance.  They need to know whether salespeople are doing well and review reasons for achievement and failure to reinforce or course-correct.  Informatively, we've found “94% of the best sales leaders [regularly] assess why top salespeople are successful.” 

PerceptionPredict is a valuable tool for tracking and analyzing job performance down to single tasks, behaviors, and attributes.

11. Foresight

Overall, continuous team engagement, plus mechanisms like our Performance Fingerprints, aid sales managers in staying one step ahead when it comes to both exceeding aims and falling short.

12. Resource Optimization

Serious sales managers utilize all suitable resources at hand while also setting their teams up for success by wisely allocating them and encouraging their use.

13. Tech Savvy

Technology saves substantial time.  It is more important than ever to harness it as 87% of great sales managers have their teams maximize sales technology to “maximize revenue,” and 71% prioritize social media.

14. Sales Expertise

Deep knowledge of sales, while not the only qualification for an outstanding sales manager, is key for judging salespeople’s aptitudes and shortcomings to effectively mentor them.

15. Demeanor

Sales managers must command respect as fair leaders, exude ingenuity and passion that motivates their team, exhibit infectious positivity, and simultaneously remain approachable and relatable.

Hire Top Sales Managers with PerceptionPredict

PerceptionPredict’s interactive AI engine enhances your hard-earned mastery of sales staffing decisions.  It compiles pertinent data on prospective hires to interpret who has the highest potential.  Especially when promoting salespeople to sales management, we locate who has the attributes and specific job behaviors that culminate in ascendent hires with an impressive turnout.

Book a demo to learn where PerceptionPredict fits into the equation of elevating your organization’s talent.

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