I think there are only two times a Sales Manager should be called “Manager”:
- When they hire someone.
- When they fire someone.
The rest of the time this position is really the sales team’s coach. Like any good coach, the Sales Manager’s main job is to get the best out of every one of their players/reps while moving the entire team forward. As in sports, the sales coach needs to:
- Make sure each player is giving their individually best performance while making sure the team functions in harmony.
- Teach the nuances of the game while drilling the basics. Sales training needs to be delivered on a consistent, regularly scheduled basis – including role playing.
- Study the competition to find their strengths and weaknesses. Then, teach the players how to do the same.
- Pick up the players when they need it. And give them a kick in the pants when they need it.
- Lead by example.
- Teach from their personal experience while letting the sales rep discover the sales process on their own. It’s a very tricky thing to do. You cannot appear to be a know-it-all/done-it-all parent. You have to point things out while the rep continues his or her own discovery.
- Stand up for his or her players when needed.
- Show up every day as the most positive person in the office. If you’re a Sales Manager, it does not matter what has happened today in your personal life. The team will think they did something wrong and will shy away from bringing you problems and opportunities.
- Develop an atmosphere of trust. Without trust, it’s a long road.
Most of the time poor sales results can be traced back to weak, ineffective, or inefficient sales management. Upper management will often ask you if your sales people need training; thinking this is always the root cause of weak sales. They seldom ask the manager if they feel need, or want to get, additional training do do their job better. As a sales manager, following the nine steps outlined above, will give you a running start at being better in your position and increasing sales revenues. However, don’t be shy about asking for the company to invest in yourprofessional development. If you follow these nine principles, and get your management team to see the importance of your position on the overall health of the organization, you and your team will be on a winning track that will let you outrun your competition.
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