Sales Manager as Captain, Coach and Cheerleader

I was recently asked what qualities I seek in a successful Sales Manager. Based on my experience it really boils down to three roles: captain, coach and cheerleader.

A sales manager’s primary objective is to steer the ship for his sales people to achieve their quota. This would include establishing the overall goals for the year as well as refocusing the team on a regular basis. Depending on the sales cycle the frequency which with the team is course corrected might fluctuate, but I find that weekly meetings are best to maintain forward momentum.

Ideally, sales managers understand the product, market and customers better than individual sales people. They also have a better set of selling skills and use this combination to coach team members through challenging sales cycles. Sales people have the responsibility to ask for help and it’s the manager’s job to provide support as needed.

Without question, sales has its ups and downs. A series of closed doors or the loss of a significant account can crush morale. Part of the managers responsibility is to keep the team enthusiastic and on target. This could be as simple as a pat on the back or recognition during a team call. More formal praise might include a short term incentive or long term bonus for over achievement.

Of course, there are other qualities that define the successful sales manager, such as initiative, perseverance, and experience in the field.

What’s your definition?

Please leave a comment below or on Twitter @steinarknutsen.


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