Top Qualities of an Effective Sales Manager

5 Minutes

There are many things that contribute to an effective sales team – from people skills to product knowledge. But one of the most fundamental ingredients of any sales department is having an impactful sales manager at the helm. An effective leader in sales will be more than just a sales expert who can push hot leads through the sales funnel – they’ll be a true leader who can get the most out of each and every member of the sales team, improving performance and making themselves key to the success of your business.

When recruiting a sales manager, you want to bring someone on board who is going to have an impact in the long-term, and that means knowing what qualities to look out for. There’s more to being a good sales manager than sales skills, so to help you find the best new sales manager for your business, here are just a few of the key traits to look out for.


Leadership skills

Sales is a fast paced, cut-throat game and that means you need a manager who can really lead the team and motivate the team to drive performance. You’ll want to recruit a sales manager with the ability to rally the troops, who has confidence and exudes authority. It’s not all about Wolf of Wall Street-esque speeches, but rather motivating the team in a way that works for those specific employees, which means being aware of what works and what doesn’t.

It could be one-to-one reviews, relaxed team lunches or morning huddles - or even a mixture of all three. What matters is finding motivational tools that work for specific teams and individuals.

Communication is also massively important and that means being able to listen as well as talk. Employees will need some direction, but they also want to feel like they’re heard and feel valued by both their manager and the company, so look out for people who have solid listening skills while carrying out interviews.

You also need someone who is adept at giving feedback to your team that helps them improve and succeed, which is an important part of being an effective leader. An organised and strong leader will be able to work with members of their team to set key performance indicators, as well as working with them to feed back, analyse their performance and set achievable goals to further improve their performance in the future.


Loyalty and valued employees

Sales managers should always have the best interests of their team at heart. That means rewarding great efforts and top results (both of which deserve credit – sales perks don’t have to always revolve around targets).

At the interview stage, try to look out for any fresh and exciting ideas your potential new hire brings to the table. Cash bonuses and vouchers are, perhaps, the standard – but does your candidate know what else is valuable to employees?

According to research1, additional time off is the top perk that employees look for from companies. This might not be right for your business – and a good sales manager should always listen to their team on matters like this – but it could be a big tick if they have the enthusiasm for valuable incentive schemes that both motivate and incentivise your sales team.


Strategic skills

Targets are a huge part of any salesperson’s working life, so it’s important to know if your potential hire has a strategic mind that can drive success in this area. You want someone who is forward-thinking and innovative, always looking for new ways to foster success in the business. To get an idea of a candidate’s thoughts and processes, you could ask how they’d go about doing the following:

  • Making their team work more efficiently
  • Truning around an underperforming sales month
  • Incentivising productivity
  • Identifying internal problems and weaknesses

What you’re looking for isn’t necessarily a fully developed plan, but the makings of a strategic thought process. In the fast-paced world of sales, you really need a manager who can think on their feet.

A good strategist should also be able to pinpoint who in their team is best placed to execute their plan. A strong manager leads by example, but also gives others the chance to flourish, allowing them to develop and grow through delegation of key tasks that bring out the best in them.


How to identify top sales manager skills

Recruiting a manager into your sales team can be a difficult ask, largely because it’s difficult to know how someone will perform in real-world scenarios. However, there are some ways to spot the qualities you are looking for, including:

  • Asking situational interview questions
  • Inviting them to prepare a presentation


When you find your new sales manager – someone who has the leadership skills, confidence, communication and authenticity to make a real difference – you want to give them the best chance of success, of course.

To help them settle in, consider how a sales management course from Pareto could help them achieve success and hit the ground running within your organisation. Our sales management training focuses on developing some of the key skills required to be an effective sales manager including:

  • Leadership skills
  • Delivering feedback and coaching
  • Delegating and allocating tasks
  • Setting standards and key performance indicators
  • Managing under performance 
  • Motivating the sales team
  • Planning time effectively 


To find out how Pareto can help you find and train your next sales leader, get in touch today.


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