Here is one quick question, what according to you is an uphill task in startup recruiting – a good sales manager amongst the ranks, or hiring your #1 top sales man to manage team?
Most experts believe, any salesperson has a competitive streak to rank #1, and easily ignore the possibility in working without a team. While we can concur with that opinion, with the rise of opportunities that allow people to work remotely, not all rules work seamlessly in a post-90s era battle between sales vs management. Taking in the opinions of exemplary leaders, who boss'ed around multiple teams, one has to do a dog's day work to be the bull amogst the dogs.
There's always good difference between a top salesman and a leader. In a startup scenario, a top salesman usually works alone, exhibits independence, and is a sales maverick, and consistently put his go-getting attitude to work on sales goals. However, can they manage a buzzing sales team?
Trust me when I say this – Sales is fun, and all salesmen are clowns. Sales people want to be led. The very qualities that make them great salesman, make them very difficult to manage, but its not hard to transit from machine to management.
A good manager motivates salesman, keeps a tab of the emotions, helps people to reach their fullest potential, train people manage cold calls, and sales negotiations. They say before you criticize walk the same path. A degree in MBA, it's not a mandatory qualification to be sales manager.
Every good sales leader is street smart, often respected for their scars working in parallel negotiations, with a good experience in closures. One has to work their way up and learn to experience how to implement field sales strategies, rather parachute directly from b-schools, and be that glue which holds management board with your sales workforce.
As a sales manager, one has to be approachable at all times and be available to communicate across different organizational lines. A sales manager dons many hats like boosting the team's morale, keeping them optimistic after every sales call, mentoring them sales strategies, and techniques to sell better, keeping an eye on their sales targets, when keeping a calm in sales negotiations.
Pushing sales targets
Sales is a numbers driven game. As as a manager, sales targets are the usual focus points in a weekly meeting, but the big question – Are you keeping your team motivated enough for the next meeting? A lot of voluntary sales attrition happens over lack of confidence within the team, and weekly whiplash from a manager who values money over morale.
Every sales leader, provides a clear and definite view from the top. One can notice how a sales manager often stress the question of "why" over "how". What can be consistently observed in leaders in a position of sales management is how one delegates work, takes initiative to develop a small sales workforce, up skill them, teach them how to sell, and motivate them by offering incentives.
There is no one size fits for all method of coaching for sales, and not all startups can employ the same sales methods. A good sales leader understands how to merge the gap between technology and the sales funnel. A sales leader pushes their team, to work together collectively, and close a sale. At the end of the day, team matters.
A good sales leader finds individual talents in each of their team, and nutures their skill in alignment to their persona. Let's take an example, supposing that you are too good at writing emails, and building leads, you could be a very good inbound marketing expert! Are you a talker? Are you a go-getter? You should be out there in the field. Identifying purpose in each of their team members is one, aligning them with the company's interests is two. Delegating the right work to right sales person, and not micro managing tasks is a virtue of a good sales manager.
Do you hate performance reviews? Everybody does. As an unbiased sales manager, motivate the sales persons who non-perform consistently, show people appreciation and expresses his/her gratitude time to time, takes accountability for minor delays, while keeping a tab on quotas, gamifying the experience of selling by his work-force. Leading by example matters, and is very critical to the success of every business.