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February 17, 2016

The Skills That Should Be in Every Sales Manager Job Description [+ Template Listing]

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Managers, and particularly sales managers, obtain their results from the team they manage. This necessitates behavioral skills that promote camaraderie and helpful attitudes.

These skills are developed mainly from:

  • An interest in individual needs and points of view
  • A willingness to spend time and devote thought to analyzing attitudes
  • A sense of justice or fair dealing
  • Respect for others’ unique personalities

The Essential Skills Every Sales Manager Needs

To enable staff members to develop their abilities, good human relations alone are not enough. The sales manager has to define tasks, set proper objectives, and maintain firm control. The characteristics and core competencies required to do these things are:

Analytical Ability

Sales managers receive all kinds of information -- from verifiable facts to rumors. It is important to be able to see the relevance of these bits of information, to draw conclusions that fit the facts, and to analyze a problem to understand root causes.

Judgment

Having analyzed the available information in a given situation, they must then judicially weigh the evidence in order to decide on the best course of action. Most decisions involve a balance of advantages and disadvantages, and so they should be comfortable with tradeoffs.

Communication

What is clear to a sales manager must be made clear to others. Sales managers should ask themselves what each individual needs to know and why, and what reaction they expect from them. 

Ability to Attain Targets

The sales manager can reach goals by their deadlines. They know what to do when performance deviates from plan, and executes corrective measures.

Ability to Get Things Done

They should be a good objective setter, planner, and above all, controller. Instead of leaving loose ends hanging, they always finish what they start.

Cooperation

A sales manager should work with others in a friendly, cooperative manner, and inspire others to collaborate.

Initiative

Look for a self-starter able to work with minimum direction. In addition, a good sales manager possesses both the desire and the ability to develop constructive ideas.

Dependability

Strong sales managers are dependable, thorough, and precise in everything they undertake.

Smart Selection of People

Ensure they are able to meet hiring quotas and surround themselves with good people.

Delegation

Confirm the ability to produce results through others, instead of trying to do it all themselves.

Planning and Organizing

A strong sales manager writes objectives and plans in detail how they will be attained. They're also able to anticipate problems and outline how they will be overcome.

Vision

Seek someone who is able to look well ahead and be a good forecaster, and who also considers future opportunities and problems.

Creativity

A sales manager generates ideas frequently and is always working out ways and means of “doing it better.”

Embodying Company Policies

The best are absolutely loyal under all conditions, and they always “sell” the company values, rather than “tell” them.

Human Relations

The best managers possess the desire to develop from a boss into a genuine leader. They should also ensure that people enjoy working for them and demonstrate good team building skills.

Ability to Develop Subordinates

Make sure they always practice what they preach and show their direct reports the benefits of reading, analyzing, practicing, and improving.

Problem Solving

Look for a positive thinker who can quickly pinpoint problems, come up with solutions, and get the action going.

Technical Knowledge

A sales manager should have an exceptional understanding of their area. They should continuously strive to improve that knowledge and keep up-to-date.

Management Knowledge

Check for a sound understanding of modern management techniques applicable to their field. Someone who continually develops management skills is a must.

Policy Knowledge

Make sure they have a complete understanding of company policies and procedures.

 
Common Sense

Strong sales managers approach situations maturely and demonstrate a great deal of common sense.

Enthusiasm

Ensure they possess a zest for the job -- smiles easily and has a positive, eager, and responsive attitude.

Ability to Work Under Pressure

The best sales managers maintain positive attitudes and zeal even when the going is tough. This is a must for any job, but when leading a team of reps with high pressure quotas, it's an absolute top priority for sales managers.

The Role of a Sales Manager

A sales manager must translate the organization’s vision, mission, and values into a meaningful context that sales teams can relate to and feel excited by. If a sales leader can effectively do this, she has created a sales team with a shared mental model. This transforms an ordinary sales team into a high-performing one.

For clarity, here is a brief description of the following terms:

An organization’s vision is a guiding image of success formed in terms of a huge goal. It is a description in words that conjures up a picture of the organization’s destination. A compelling vision will stretch expectations, aspirations, and performance. Without that powerful, attractive, valuable vision, why bother?

A mission statement communicates the essence of an organization to its stakeholders and customers, and failure to clearly state and communicate an organization’s mission can have harmful consequences around its purpose. As Lewis Carroll's Cheshire Cat says in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, "If you don't know where you're going, it doesn't matter which way you go." 

Guiding principles flow from mission statements. They're intended to inform or shape all subsequent decision-making, which also provides normative criteria allowing policy-makers to accept, reject, or modify policy interventions and activities. They are a guiding set of ideas that are articulated, understood, and supported by the organization’s workforce.

Values are beliefs which the organization’s workforce hold in common and endeavor to put into practice. The values guide their performance and the decisions that are taken. Ideally, an individual's personal values will align with the spoken and unspoken values of the organization. By developing a written statement of the values of the organization, individuals have a chance to contribute to the articulation of these values, as well as to evaluate how well their personal values and motivation match those of the organization. 

Sales Manager Job Description Template

If you're looking to fill a sales manager opening, use this template job description as a starting point.

Responsibilities:

  • Work with Marketing to ensure consistent lead generation.
  • Collaborate with sales leadership to create and train prospecting process.
  • Collaborate with sales leadership to create and train lead qualification process.
  • Hire high-performing salespeople according to HR staffing guidelines.
  • Train new salespeople to ensure success.
  • Manage day-to-day performance of all sales team members and deliver reviews.
  • Work with sales leadership to generate ideas for sales contests and motivational initiatives.
  • Lead and schedule weekly and/or monthly team meetings with sales team and leadership.
  • Track sales team metrics and report data to leadership on a regular basis.
  • Coach and develop direct reports.
  • Implement performance plans according to company procedure.
  • Embody company culture and maintain high sales employee engagement.
  • Collaborate with IT on sales technology initiatives.
  • Meet pre-determined revenue goals through the activities of direct reports.
  • Ensure correct usage of CRM and other sales applications.
  • Train and ensure adherence to sales process.

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree; business and marketing majors preferred.
  • Three to five years in a sales representative role; within industry preferred.
  • One year of prior management experience or demonstrated willingness and ability to learn management basics.
  • Strong intrapersonal skills.
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills.
  • Familiarity with data analysis and reporting.
  • Hardworking, persistent, and dependable.
  • Positive and enthusiastic.

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in September 2014 and has been updated for comprehensiveness. 

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Topics: Sales Management

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