Good sales managers and their decisions often determine the company’s future growth, be it the pharmaceutical, manufacturing, IT, or any other industry. So, how can one become a successful sales manager and what are the skills required to succeed in this field? Keep reading.
A career in sales management generally begins at this level. A typical role at this level is that of a sales executive. A sales executive is responsible for selling the firm’s products or services to the end customer. In this role, an individual can succeed if they possess:
- Good Communication Skills: A sales executive should be able to convey the right message to the client. They need to understand the problems and advise a solution to the client.
- Confidence: A sales executive must meet people with different mindsets and approaches. Therefore, having confidence in one’s abilities is a key skill of a sales manager. They should not hesitate in approaching potential clients or customers.
- Deep knowledge of the product: A sales executive should have deep knowledge and insight about the product on sale.
- Ability to learn: One should have the ability and desire to learn new things as quickly as possible. It helps stay updated and implement new learnings to respond positively to the changes.
The entry-level performance and exposure open doors to mid-level management; the roles and responsibilities change here. The job profile may include being a team leader, branch manager, sales manager, etc. To excel at this level, you need to hone the following skills:
- Leadership: A mid-level sales manager can lead a group of individuals ranging from 4 to 50 or more, depending upon the size and structure of the organisation. Therefore, leadership is one of the primary skills sales managers should possess. They should be able to inspire and motivate their group at every level.
- Training & Mentoring: Many entry-level managers or executives have little to no experience in sales and need to be trained well. Great managers are great mentors as well. They develop an ability to spot talent and actively encourage their subordinates to hone their skills.
- Analytical Skills: At mid-level, sales managers must do a lot of number crunching. Sales figures, trends and consumer patterns are needed to be analysed thoroughly to chart the future course of action. Therefore, one needs to have good skills in data analysis to extract useful information from the data.
- Maintain a healthy work environment: Sales management is highly stressful like any other career with high prospects. The race to achieve targets, increase sales and compete with peers can take a toll on the emotional health of the team members. The team leader should work on reducing the stress of the team members.
General managers, vice presidents and directors fall in this bracket. At the top level, lines are blurred. The skillset of a top-level sales manager is similar to that of any other field. These skills are:
- Vision: Professionals at this level do not bother about the daily operations. They have a clear idea of how to take the organisation forward and work on building this vision.
- Strategic Planning: The top-level executives think about the questions associated with the organisation’s overall growth. They devise and figure out long-term goals and strategies to drive sales growth.
These are the 10 management skills that make the best sales managers stand out from the crowd. You may consider updating your skills if you think you are cut out for the role. You can consider taking a professional management course. If you are a working professional, NMIMS offers a Distance MBA in Retail Management with a world-class faculty and infrastructure with an enviable corporate track record.
Sales Management is an evergreen branch, and dynamic professionals are always in demand. Arm yourself with the requisite skills before taking the plunge.