The 7 Secrets to successful Sales Management


Working with hundreds of sales teams over the past 20 years, we have learned the 7 secrets to becoming a successful sales manager. A manager who can build a high performance sales team.

Which type of sales manager are you?

1. You have to look after the big customers to make the numbers and you drive your team hard to make their numbers
2. Your team bring the big deals to you so you can close them if you don't do this you won't make your target
3. You create an environment to allow your people to sell, you coach them to success and you manage them day to day to promote the standards of behaviour you expect

Here are the 7 secrets:

1. It's all about the team
2. Lead by creating the right environment
3. Coach them to success
4. Manage behaviours every day
5. Be a primary demand generator
6. Work with insight not on instinct
7. Set and model your desired behaviours

Here are some tips

1. It's all about the team

  • It is all about your team you can't do the selling your team has to

  • It's about building a high performance team

  • Set clear goals and expectations with them and don't compromise your collective efforts to get there

  • Hire the best people, those who will grow and make sure you find your successor

  • Ensure they understand the company vision and goals and how they support those goals

  • Get to know your team and find ways for them to get to know each other

2. Lead by creating the right environment

  • Create an environment that promotes open communication, the sharing of ideas, celebrates success and is accountable

  • Remove the barriers that hold them back, get them out in the marketplace (it is amazing what happens when customer contact is increased)

  • Work with your peers to streamline your companies ability to get your products/services to market quickly and efficiently

  • Promote a focus on delivering measurable customer value

  • Always look for better ways and never be satisfied with the status quo

3. Coach them to success

  • Spend time observing your team members behaviours internally and in the field

  • Connect your ongoing conversations with them to drive the right behaviours

  • Leverage behaviours of strength to improve performance quickly

  • Work on the areas of development over a period of time

  • Give them lots of feedback and ask them to give you lots as well (you know when that is working when they crave feedback)

  • Use a proven coaching approach and coach them on their behaviours

4. Manage behaviours every day

  • Keep the beat of the drum consistent, don't waver

  • Work on what you need to look at everyday, every week, every month, every quarter and every year never miss

  • Be right across the numbers, work out what is important to driving performance for your business, these may include:o Top line and margin
    o Top line and margin
    o Win rates
    o Retention rates
    o Pipeline and forecasting accuracy
    o Average transaction value
    o Product mix
    o Segment and product/service shifts

  • Set KPI's that will drive the right behaviours and remove any that don't

5. Be a primary demand generator

  • Be visible in your market

  • Work hard to be recognized as an industry expert

  • Be relentless in your pursuit of insight across your key target segments

  • Promote and run events to bring the right people together

  • Be a connector

  • Always look for opportunities

  • Think strategically not tactically

6. Work with insight not on instinct

  • Work with your team to identify the key insights required to ultimately deliver value to your customers

  • Then conduct a gap analysis for your key customers and set about bridging the gaps

  • Use the insight to create proactive initiatives that will deliver value to your customers

  • Use insight as the basis for decision making

  • Don't fall into the trap of just operating on instinct, even the most experienced people require good, solid insight

  • Learn what works and why plus what didn't work and why

  • Make sure your CRM is setup to capture the important insights you and your team identified (this will assist in the take up of CRM)

  • Always ask yourself; are we working with valid insight or just operating on instinct?

7. Set and model your desired behaviours

  • Work with your team to identify how you, as a team, want to be seen both internally and externally

  • Determine the behaviours that will shape the culture you want to create a high performance culture

  • Discuss what these behaviours look like under everyday under battle conditions

  • Discuss how everyone in the team can drive these behaviours by living the behaviours and providing feedback to others

  • Agree on the right behaviours and then hold everyone to account

You may well be doing many of these things already, but it might be worth reflecting on the culture you are creating to see if you could introduce some new thinking.

Rate yourself across the 3 key Sales Manager behavioural dimensions:

1. Leading
2. Coaching
3. Managing

Have you got your balance right?


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