Sales management is considered one of the most in-demand occupations right now, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting 7% growth for this profession between 2020 and 2030. The yearly median pay is also pretty decent.
However, there’s a difference between becoming an average sales manager and a successful sales leader. If you want to succeed in your career, you need to possess a set of personal qualities that will help you grow.
What are these qualities? Let’s discuss.
Ability to Self-Reflect
Sales managers need to be open to new learning opportunities. You will likely take numerous courses and seminars at your job to increase your efficiency. As you acquire new skills, you will have to work on developing them, which involves self-reflection
The ability to self-reflect, in this case, means that you can give an objective review of your skills. The goal is to discover new opportunities to improve and make your work more meaningful.
To learn how to conduct self-reflection, you need to continuously analyze the following:
- Skills – what you are good at and how you can expand your capabilities.
- Problems – what doesn’t let you grow as a sales manager.
- Strengths – your strong qualities that help you grow.
- Weaknesses – qualities that hinder your success.
Giving these points a regular overview can help you find solutions and pathways to growing as a professional. You can also reflect on the performance of your peers and compare it to yours. But remember – do it in a positive way and avoid harsh self-criticism.
As a sales representative, you’ll have to talk with many decision-makers from large companies, which can be intimidating, especially for a newbie. And that’s the first test that differentiates a sales manager destined for success and a random salesperson. If you want to succeed, you will persevere.
So, perseverance is your ability to keep doing your job and trying your best despite hardships and obstacles. A person is not born perseverant. Experts in positive psychology recommend practicing the following:
Resilience – pushing yourself to achieve the goal while maintaining healthy optimism.
Intrinsic values – creating a vision board to remind you of a higher goal you want to reach.
Essentially, psychologists recommend using values to build up resilience. Higher goals should remind you why you are doing your job and want to grow as a professional in sales. It will also motivate you to keep moving even when you receive rejection after rejection.
Possession of Communication Skills in Foreign Languages
It is hard to imagine a sales manager without solid communication skills. Also, if you want to achieve success in your sales career, you need to know at least one foreign language. In fact, 35% of people said they were learning another language to improve their chances of getting a better job.
However, it’s not enough to just know the language; you need to be able to use it in business communication. For instance, for all non-English speakers, mastering English for business communications means:
Knowing industry-specific vocabulary. For instance, if you’re a sales manager in banking or SaaS, you need to be able to easily operate the terminology of these industries to communicate with English-speaking clients.
Using specific grammar structures. For instance, the passive voice is used in situations when you deliberately want to shift the focus from the doer to the action. And modal verbs don’t just describe the capability of the speaker but also add the level of probability to the action described by the main verb.
Maintaining the correct style. Business communication in English usually presupposes shorter sentences and paragraphs and a more straightforward manner of speaking.
Mastering these skills can take some time, but they are absolutely essential if you want to achieve success as a sales manager in an international company.
Ability to Delegate
If you’re a newbie in sales, you probably have the motivation to do all the tasks by yourself and stay as long as you need to prove your worth. However, soon you’ll understand that such an approach doesn’t bring anything constructive to the table – only professional burnout.
So, the only way out is to become a good delegator and know when it is best to assign a task to someone instead of doing everything yourself. To achieve that, you need to:
- Prioritize – Single out the tasks that need to be done urgently, and delegate all the remaining non-essential activities to your subordinates.
- Instruct – Don’t just give away the assignment – give detailed instructions of what needs to be done and how.
- Trust, but verify – Don’t take the position of a toxic boss micromanaging everything your team does. Put your trust in them, but check the quality of work once it’s done.
Also, when delegating, be ready for failure. Expect that someone from your team may not close as many sales as expected due to various circumstances.
Finally, no matter if you’re going to manage a sales team or not, you need to have empathy if you want to build meaningful relationships with clients. This is especially important for B2B sales managers, who need to put all the effort into turning a prospect into a returning customer who trusts the company and product completely.
Here’s how you learn empathy:
- Understand your biases. Analyze where they are coming from – it will help you neutralize them.
- Become a better listener. When talking to people, try to understand the emotions they feel when telling you a story.
- Seek new experiences. Learning new languages and traveling to experience different countries can help you become more empathetic.
By the way, for all sales team leaders – being empathetic increases innovation. According to Forbes, 61% of employees said they felt more inspired to look for new approaches to work when led by an empathetic manager.
Over to You
As you can see, a successful sales manager needs to possess a few important personal qualities. Luckily, you can acquire all of them; you just need to strive for self-improvement.
Ultimately, a sales manager should be a good communicator (not just in their native language), perseverant, empathetic, able to self-reflect and delegate. These are the five qualities you should be aiming for if you want to achieve success in sales.