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The sales manager is arguably the most important person in the office. I think that the majority of CEOs would agree that if you hire the right sales manager, your business can and will flourish.
On the other hand, hire an incompetent, non-progressive thinker and you end up with turnovers, lost accounts, a poor reputation and declining market share within your industry.
Now that we have the obvious out of the way, what traits and knowledge combine to make the ideal sales manager within any organization regardless of industry?
1. Acquired knowledge about the intersections between businesses and the people who make them
Sales people know one thing – sales. Sales has a negative reputation strictly for the reason that we associate the word with being swindled by somebody that can be described as a bottom feeder or a Willy Lohman type character.
More often than not, a sentence that begins with the words, “I got sold,” is going to be a negative statement as opposed to a sentence that begins with “I bought,” which carries a positive connotation.
Sales people know how to survive, barely, whereas business people who happen to sell know the fundamentals of making their clients money. Clients consistently seek the latter, however unfortunately finding the business person who can sell proves to be quite a rarity.
Combined, intelligence and experience can spot a sales person right away and at times even the most forward-thinking sales manager must settle for a sales person due to circumstances out of his or her control. For this reason alone, intelligence and experience knows to hang on to a business person regardless of price increases.
The most effective sales managers know what their clients think: what their concerns are, what their company’s strengths are. Most importantly, they can teach all this to their subordinates who in turn will sell enough to have subordinates themselves one day.
2. A vision of where your company is going
The statement that leaders know exactly where the both the company and they are going is inaccurate because the leader has the ability to adjust to fluctuating markets and other variables that call for a change in business plan.
However, leaders share a vision of growth for, first and foremost, the employees, and as a result the company. A leader’s vision should start with where he or she sees the team under them in the next few years and how their gradual growth will spawn the company’s increased revenue generation.
3. The ability to recruit and increase the firm’s positive image in the marketplace
Leaders dress nicely, are well put together and create an office atmosphere where the team looks their best, has the time to stay in shape and truly cares about the aesthetics of their surroundings.
Don’t think this is crucial? Then you’re not going to make as much money. Looks and perception are absolutely huge when it comes to sales and meeting with clients.
Human beings equate nice looks with honesty and intelligence. Good-looking women will receive significantly higher marks in college when the grading is subjective as opposed to formalized tests.
It goes further. In times of war, countries have been known to sign war changing agreements without looking at the document simply for the fact that a well dressed individual hands them the treaty.
Intelligence and common sense would tell you that there is no correlation between looks and competence, however there is because 99.99% of the population believes there to be.