Managing a sales team: what skills do managers need?

by James Ker-Reid - March 10, 2022

Behind every successful sales team is a sales manager. Managing a sales team requires experience, drive and a track record in the field, but that’s not all? Here, we examine what it takes to manage a sales team and be a successful sales manager. 

  • Identify talent
  • Be analytical
  • Inspire
  • Implement a sales plan
  • A keen learner

Ability to recruit the right talent

They say a manager is only as good as their team, so it’s essential that you know how to identify the right talent. The ability to spot and convince people to join your team will go a long way to determining your long-term impact as a sales manager.

The best sales managers have a knack for spotting talent, whether they’re looking at real-world results, understanding how candidates should prepare for interviews or seeing how they’ve previously been tested and challenged. These traits form the building blocks of high-quality employees who will help drive your team forward. 

Can set goals based on analytics

Top sales managers can analyse and review sales data to make the decisions that lead to conversions for their team and more revenue. Therefore, you’ll need to be able to conduct in-depth research on the market and help identify prospects and partnerships. 

Analytics can help you find meaningful and productive conclusions that allow you to forecast and set objectives. These can then be relayed to the team, who can tap into the data and help increase sales. 

Inspire and motivate

It should go without saying that inspiring and motivating your team is a key requirement for any sales manager role. Sales is a results-based business, and your team needs to meet – if not exceed – their targets. 

That involves instilling a sense of purpose and belief in your sales team to ensure they have the right tools to solve customers’ problems with total confidence and dedication. The best sales managers focus on strengths, share success stories and create a culture of training to empower the team.

Define and implement a sales plan

Plans are vital to a successful sales set-up, as they help find and convert leads and maintain a profitable business model. Having these processes in place increases the chance of having a well-functioning team across the board rather than one or a couple of star sales reps. 

Whether it’s a watertight script for phone sales or documentation, having an easy-to-follow sales plan that’s in-depth will get your team members all on the same page and create a well-oiled machine ready to surpass results. 

Be ready to learn and improve

It’s one thing to lead a sales team, but it’s another to recognise areas where you can improve further. The very best sales managers keep up with trends and aim to improve along with their team. An always-evolving attitude will serve you well. 

Some sales managers may opt to use a sales coach or mentor, while others take regular courses. Regardless of the approach, you should keep your finger on the pulse and strive to take your skills to the next level, improving leadership traits and your own selling skills. 

Managing a sales team to success

A great sales manager has all the attributes to lead their team to success. By recruiting the right talent and inspiring and motivating them while also recognising areas where you can improve, there’s every chance that you’ll build a great sales team that goes beyond expectations and takes the business to the next level.



Further Reading

Patrick Thorp
March 2, 2021

Hiring your first VP of Sales? Read this first.

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Patrick Thorp
November 17, 2020

How do you develop a high performing sales team?

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Sales goals
James Ker-Reid
April 26, 2022

The importance of sales goals

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