LEADERSHIP SERIES: Research suggests that Sales Leadership is the difference maker between good performance and superior performance. And how sales leaders embrace five essential roles is critical to the success of their teams. We hope you find this series of short informal discussions around sales leadership useful and thought-provoking.
Understanding the Five Important Roles an Effective Sales Manager Must Fill
It usually doesn’t take more than a couple of days on the job for a new sales manager to figure out that he or she doesn’t really have one particular job – being at the front of a sales team is more like having part-time shifts as an accountant, psychologist, teacher, and occasional lion-tamer.
But while many eventually adapt and respond to the many hats they are forced to wear, only a few understand the five core roles a sales manager needs to fill… and even fewer master them.
Look at it this way, being deficient in any one of these areas will hold back your potential – and that of every sales person that reports to you. With that in mind, here are the five key jobs of any sales manager, and why they are so important:
Leader. Your sales staff doesn’t need you to just be a manager – they need you to take charge and lead the way. It’s a subtle but important difference, and one you have to figure out before you can expect your team to take any real direction from you.
Business Manager. There’s no doubt the numbers are important in sales; forget that for too long, and you can be sure your CEO or VP Sales will remind you. But sometimes, the quickest way to meet your revenue goal is to not focus on it directly… a theme we will come back to in the series.
Coach. The best coaches, in sports and in life, don’t simply draw up plays and plans. Instead, they draw the best out of every one of us through motivation and self belief. That’s as important in sales management as it is on any playing field.
Recruiter. Turnover is going to happen within your sales team. The only question is whether you are going to be ready for it or not. Long-term, you can’t succeed as a sales manager unless you have the right people on your staff. Are you doing a good job of finding them?
Trainer. Outside sales training should supplement the programs you are already creating, not replace them. No one knows your team and department’s needs better than you, so it’s important that, as a sales manager, you be a strong sales trainer as well.
Throughout this series, we will be exploring these roles more deeply, challenging your thinking on areas to focus on. If you want to jumpstart this process, get in touch with us today and find out how we are helping other sales leaders and sales teams be at the top of their game.
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