Sales management success requires dedication. It can be a truly challenging job and, if you commit to it, a really rewarding one as well. Understanding the reasons why some managers fail can help avoid common problems and keep you on the road to success.
Lack of trust
The foundation of a successful sales manager is a team that trusts him. Without this, the job becomes exponentially more difficult. For new sales managers, you want to nurture this trust from the beginning. If you’re working with people you’ve never met before or don’t know well – get to know them, even before you start talking business. Show a genuine interest in your sales team and their well being as individuals, and you’ll be off to a good start. As you continue working with your team, don’t let that trust diminish. Keep up a personal rapport with each member of your team. Check in with your salespeople often, both about business and also about how they are doing, and stay in tune with how you are connecting with each member of your team.
Lack of training
A sales manager has a unique job, and his past success in sales doesn’t guarantee him success as a sales manager. The two jobs are actually quite different, and a salesperson may not always receive adequate training before becoming a sales manager. New sales managers should be open to any training opportunities and even try to seek them out themselves. Staying open to learning is key to growing in this role. Proper training in the form of a course or workshop is not the only training there is; on-the-job training can be very effective, as long as the person is truly interested in furthering his or her skills. Someone who comes into the job overly confident and unwilling to learn likely will not last long.
Lack of communication
Communication is what keeps a team running smoothly. A sales manager who is difficult to reach, slow to respond, or just plain unpleasant to talk to is likely to fail. His job really does depend on the success of the team as a whole. This means that a successful sales manager must keep the lines of communication open and strive to be a real part of his team. It also means he needs to be able to have all different types of conversations and communicate well in all of them. From recruiting, to new hires, to problems in the workplace and firings, a good sales manager will be able to articulate himself clearly and listen well to whoever else is the in the conversation.
Lack of balance
A sales manager needs to manage without being too controlling. He needs to be a leader without being overbearing. Successful sales managers are able to find the balance between the two. They are respected by their team of salespeople and can deliver instructions clearly. They have a good sense of what is going on within the sales team and they stay connected. A sales manager must manage, after all. He has to be a strong and confident leader who can step in when needed. That being said, it is equally important that they build a team they can trust to work without constant micromanaging. Understanding the nuances of leadership and learning how to find balance within the role is essential for a good sale manager.
No one is going to be perfect at a job immediately. A sales manager who recognizes the importance of these areas to his success and who remains dedicated and open to strengthening them will likely be able to avoid the pitfalls that cause others to fail.