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Do This One Thing to Be a Successful Sales Manager

Do This One Thing to Be a Successful Sales Manager - SalesLatitude

Do This One Thing to Be a Successful Sales Manager - SalesLatitudeIn a previous post, I discussed how little training I had when taking a management position for the first time. However, throughout my career, I received a lot of training and coaching and rely on it often to guide the sales managers and leaders I coach today. When people ask me the number one factor I attribute to becoming a successful sales manager, my answer is always “fairness.”

As a manager and a coach, I always felt that everyone benefits from being treated fairly and receiving honest feedback. I positioned myself as a key resource to the team and worked hard to make it easier for my customers to buy and my sales teams to sell. I also worked diligently to ensure my team had the skill sets they needed to perform at the top of their game. The most important thing to me was ensuring everyone had the opportunity to meet or exceed their goals.

But while many sales managers out there have the same good intentions, they fall short on execution.

Helping by Overstepping Boundaries

I remember a manager I worked for who was brilliant in front of customers. If I was able to bring him in to meet with customer executives early in the deal, I had a high-percentage shot to win that deal. If anything went awry, he had established a relationship such that he could make a call to the customer executive to find out what was happening.

But with all the good came some bad.  Here are two examples:

  1. Any time we had an executive meeting early in the sales cycle, we would prepare to ensure we understood our roles, gained insights in advance to show value based on their goals and priorities, constructed open-ended questions to fill in our gaps of knowledge – you know the drill. Yet, when we were in the meeting, he would go out of role, take over the call and make me the note taker. From there on in, my role was diminished.
  1. We were doing final negotiations for my first million-dollar-plus deal. We were down to a few final business points in the contract and I had provided a win-win solution to him and the others in management. He told me to hold firm, which I did, but the customer would not budge. So, he decided to assist, and guess what – he saved the day by giving in on the exact points he had told me not to give in on! The good news was, I closed the deal. The bad news, well, you get it.

Are You a Successful Sales Manager?

These moments helped define the successful sales manager I became – one that is fair and passionate about my team’s success. But I still think about those managers I worked for, worked with or coached and, unfortunately, recall some of their questionable attributes. Think about what makes you a successful sales manager, or is keeping you from becoming one.

How are you perceived as a manager? What qualities do you admire in a manager? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Janice Mars, Principal and Founder of SalesLatitude, is a sales performance improvement consultant and change agent focused on growing top performers to impact bottom line growth. With more than 30 years of experience as a senior business and sales executive, she helps companies build successful sales teams by maximizing their time and resources, selling from the buyer’s point of view, and strengthening the effectiveness of leadership. View my LinkedIn profile | Twitter


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