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3 Different Skills Needed to Become a Sales Manager

There’s a saying that if you can thrive in a sales environment, you can succeed anywhere. This is because sales is notoriously hard and requires people to use multiple skills at once. Sales teams need interpersonal skills when talking to leads and teamwork skills with other departments to make sure the customer gets what they need. It can be exhausting. Through the whole process, the sales manager needs to keep the team motivated and on track. Here are three roles they take on to help their teams and make them the best salespeople they can be.

Goal Setting and Tracking

Today’s sales teams look beyond closed deals. Smart divisions utilize marketing and customer behavior to generate a constant flow of leads and move them deeper into the sales funnel. Not every prospect will turn into a direct lead, but they might become one in the future. Smart sales managers know how to balance this process and set goals for their employees.

One manager might have 4-5 different goals for their team members, from prospecting to closed sales. They should be able to see who has certain strengths in achieving some goals over others and partner the two employees together for success. Furthermore, goals need to be trackable, and smart sales managers will provide incentives — financial or otherwise — for hitting them.

Financial Planning

One of the biggest challenges that businesses face is budgeting. They’re constantly tasked to do more with less and stretch their budgets further. As the sales manager, it’s your job to decide how the budget will be allocated to provide the highest ROI to the company. For B2B industries, this might mean deciding which conferences to attend and which clients to fly and visit. It could also mean investing in trade show software and crafting giveaways for potential customers.

Oftentimes financial strategy needs to be fluid. Budget cuts and gifts need to be spread across the whole department and balanced accordingly. Failure to do so could result in profit loss.

Motivation and Leadership

Some salespeople go through hot streaks where they close a deal every week. Meanwhile, others spend weeks and months building up leads that never turn into anything substantial. Throughout all of this, the sales manager needs to provide guidance on how to handle clients and offer advice to employees on improvement.

In some cases, the sales manager will need to get involved with the sale as well. They might need to sit in on a call to make sure their employee is handling the pitch well. In doing this, they can identify where the salesperson is going wrong, or provide a fresh voice to the customer. This is primarily a training method meant to improve their technique and help them grow.

Smart sales managers know how to sell themselves. They will take these skill sets and package them in a way that will make employers want to hire them. It takes a combination of soft skills like leadership and hard skills like financial tracking to succeed, and those who have the right stuff can land the right job and eventually take the lead as CEO.

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