The best way to learn how to be an effective sales manager is first to understand how not to be one. A scenario. You’ve done all the groundwork for your business. You’ve taken on sales staff. Now you’re sat behind a desk, and you’ve never been busier. Copied into everyone’s emails, spending days reacting to things you shouldn’t be involved in; you believe you’re running a tight ship when in reality, it’s sinking.
“Most of what we know about sales management is stopping people from doing their jobs.”
So said management expert Peter F Drucker, and I can only agree. Being busy doesn’t mean you’re being productive. Being productive means tuning up your sales team, servicing it, maintaining it, loving it and feeding it with fuel.
Help your sales team to sell
This is what the effective sales manager does, and it’s what you should do too. Attend appointments with your sales staff. Be available as a resource to help them close a deal via the power of higher authority. Get on the phone with them and show you’re willing to get stuck in. They’ll appreciate it, and your sales will rise.
Nurture your sales talent
Your job is to ensure your sales culture is positive, happy and productive. Do this through regular sales meetings where ideas are shared, training is provided, and successes are celebrated. Vitally, identify negativity. Not everyone shares your positivism, and you can’t afford to have negative people on your sales floor! Spot problems and address them. Sell the idea that negativity is counterproductive and show them that positive productivity is your sales mantra.
Set goals and rewards
It’s essential you set your troops – your sales force – an ultimate destination and let them know of the pleasures that await when they get there. For example: “Over the next six weeks we’re going to sell 50,000 copies of a new book that’s just been published. It’s called Sales Commando – Unleash Your Potential. The reason why is X, how it will be possible is Y, and the demographics are Z. And when we’ve achieved that, we’ll all go out to dinner on me.” It works. Trust me.
Don’t be a goal hanger
Last, but by no means least, don’t sit back and take the credit when things go well. Remember, victories belong to your sales team Failures belong to you. Understand that sales is the lifeblood of any business – and the heart is your sales team. Take out the heart, or at least restrict its flow, and your company dies.
Get involved with your sales team. Show them the way. Set defined targets and be pro-active in helping your sales team reach them. Nip negativity in the bud and reward positivism and success. Remember. Being in charge means rolling up your shirt sleeves. Do that, and you’re on your way to winning.