Sales can be an unforgiving industry. Each day is filled with failures, setbacks, and obstacles to overcome. 

Even top-performing sales reps need a good sales manager — not just one who tells them what to do or measures their success. They need a leader, a coach, and a confidant. If they don’t have one, their team will see high turnover rates, instances of burnout, low motivation, and lower sales numbers. 

Below are some best practices you can implement to become the outstanding sales manager that your team deserves — but first, let’s go through a refresher on what it means to be a sales manager. 

Sales Manager Definition

A sales manager is in charge of training, organizing, motivating, and assisting a sales team in their mission to make sales for the company. Some of the most essential sales manager skills help you build relationships with employees. 

You’re doing your job if you’re focusing on helping team members reach their potential. You won’t just see better sales results — you’ll also enjoy your work and build fruitful relationships that last a lifetime. 

5 Sales Manager Skills You Should Hone

As a sales manager, it is critical to improve your sales manager skills day in and day out. Once things start to click, managing a sales team can be very fulfilling. You get to watch less experienced sales reps grow into confident closers. And you get the satisfaction of knowing that their growth was partly your doing. 

Here are five skills you should work on improving daily.

1. Learn About Your Employees

Once you understand your employees’ quirks, you’ll be guided in your management of each individual. 

For instance, if you find that one employee struggles with a certain aspect of the job, you can help train them in that area. This attention to detail will create a personalized management experience. It will give rise to feelings of joy and comfort in your employees, who will in turn be more motivated to do their work. 

One of the most important things to learn about your employees is their career goals. You can give each rep a timeline and plan for reaching the next rung on their ladder. This will give them more motivation since they know each call and each sale gets them closer to that promotion. 

2. Include Some Non-Financial Incentives

Commission plans are big motivators for your sales reps. But these and cash bonuses aren’t the only factors contributing to their productivity. 

Sales reps also work hard to help their teams, grow as professionals, and earn respect from their superiors. Your incentive plan should reflect those desires by including some non-financial rewards for good work. Non-financial incentives could include the following: 

  • Vacation time: More than 95% of employees say travel time is important to them. Maybe give your top two performing reps at the end of the quarter extra vacation days. 
  • Social events: Employees want to contribute to the team. So give your team a target — revenue, demos hosted, new accounts closed, etc. — and if they hit it, take them out to a fancy dinner or a sporting event. 
  • Opportunities for promotion: For career-motivated employees, clearly outline the numbers they need to achieve before promotion. This could be meetings shadowed, demos held, or quotas attained.  
  • Public acknowledgment: For reps dreaming of glory, publicly acknowledge their success. Big company meetings are a great time to give credit to the reps who performed exceptionally well. Nothing like a little cheer from the whole company to light their fire.

3. Give Praise and Appreciation Often

As you can probably tell from the last example of non-financial incentives above, one of the biggest motivators is appreciation. 

As a sales manager, you should always be on the lookout for reasons to appreciate your sales reps. One of the most important sales manager skills is the ability to spot a work action or metric that deserves praise. Giving appreciation to the deserving rep is a must. 

For instance: If you overhear a sales rep gracefully handle an objection, tell them how proud you are. Or, if you see that one rep has doubled their prospecting efforts this week, let them know how appreciative you are of their hard work. 

4. Create a Positive Work Environment

If your sales reps dread coming to work, they aren’t going to be very productive. Luckily, you have the power to form that work environment into a positive place that will allow your salespeople to thrive. This happens when you create a work environment where friendship is kindled, honesty is valued, and hard work is rewarded.

Here are some steps you can take to create a great sales culture:

  • Boost healthy competition: Whether you’re in retail, banking, or other type of sales industry, try implementing sales leaderboards. These display sales reps’ performances in different categories. Multiple categories are better because each rep has a higher chance of being in first at least once.  
  • Build team camaraderie: Lunches and happy hours are great ways to foster bonding between your reps. This is critical, since coming to work is more fun when your friends are there waiting for you. And if your sales reps are having fun at work, there’s a good chance you will, too. 
  • Create transparency: Lack of transparency can breed distrust and demotivation. Be upfront with reps about company goals, struggles, and problems. Your candidness will make your reps feel more respected, thereby improving morale. 

5. Provide Your Reps With The Right Tools

The role of technology in sales management is ever-increasing in scope and importance. 

Sales reps don’t want to spend their days doing repetitive or boring tasks. They want to be building relationships with prospects and doing what they do best: selling. 

Provide the team with the right tools to automate redundant tasks that might be demotivating them. To get started, you can start by removing inefficiencies from one of the hardest parts of a sales rep’s job: cold outreach. 

Consider an Automation Tool to Improve Team Workflow

Sharetivity is helping sales reps personalize their outreach in half the time it would take the traditional way. When you work with us, your messaging gets results. With Sharetivity, reps breeze through lead research and email writing while they see numbers of positive responses rise.
If you want your sales reps to spend more time on their most meaningful and high-impact work — talking with qualified prospects — check out how Sharetivity can help.