From the Top Down: Why Effective Management Is Essential to a Great Sales Team
What does a company need to be successful? Many people would say investors and a solid business plan, but in addition to these important factors, a company needs effective managers. These capable leaders act as the backbone for a company, guiding members of the team to become better salespeople. Great leaders make tough decisions to ensure the company achieves targeted goals and takes advantage of opportunities that arise. In addition to quick decision-making, effective managers need to identify and act against potential problems before they become company-wide issues.
If your company suffers from lackluster sales, take a look at the management behind the team. You may discover that effective management makes all the difference for a successful sales force. Here are a few reasons why solid management is absolutely crucial to sustaining a great sales team.
Maintains High Emotional Intelligence
Good leaders know how to read body language and recognize when sales team members are not feeling “okay”. Picking up on social cues helps managers control the emotional climate in the workplace, which ultimately translates—positively or negatively—to clients.
The best managers absorb this emotional information, recognize the intended tone of the speaker, and practice self-control in their response. Not getting upset over disagreements is a telltale mark of an effective leader.
This restraint shows—rather than demands—the emotional expectations for the sales team, while also building respect for the manager. With a model of self-control in place, the sales team will begin to emulate a manager’s behavior. The end result is a sales team that understands the importance of reading body language within the office and in critical client meetings.
In contrast, a hot-and-cold manager who fails to (or chooses not to) decipher the emotions within the office risks passing on that same lack of emotional intelligence to the sales team. Unfortunately, these shortcomings ultimately work their way into meetings with clients or potential clients.
In both scenarios the chain of transmission is clear: It starts with the manager and works its way through the sales team and on to clients. Without high-quality leadership in place, it’s simply too much to expect a sales team not to internalize reactions and discussions with a manager, or to avoid passing on those experiences to the clients that sustain the business.
Provides Motivation for the Team
A great manager knows that providing motivation improves the quality of employees’ work. Motivating individuals and the team as a whole encourages a collective spirit. Creating a positive environment that draws attention to successes inspires employees to work harder for positive results.
Instead of going through the day-to-day routine, motivated employees are driven to succeed and earn their rewards, whether monetary or simple verbal acknowledgment. Once a manager provides proper motivation for the team, a conditioned response is created within the individual that drives them to bring in the best results possible.
Exceptional managers motivate employees by providing public acknowledgement of individual accomplishment. For example, something as simple as a “wins” board placed in a high-traffic area can highlight accomplishments publicly. Public acknowledgement encourages the sales group to engage in healthy inner-office competition and pushes their work to the next level, bringing in better results for the entire company.
The sales team looks to management for this type of leadership and motivation. Successful managers develop strategies to increase morale and drive the sales group to work harder and hone their skills.
Creates a Sense of Pride
The best leaders know how to nurture feelings of self-confidence in their group. By celebrating the wins of the team, a good manager begins a cycle of pride in the workplace. Noticing the effort that employees put in every day shows that their hard work is valued. Recognizing and celebrating even small victories contributes to overall success and builds a strong sales team.
Employees that respect their leaders are proud to be part of their office community. They strive to make management happy and produce great work. This results in harder-working employees that are satisfied with the work they create.
Company pride promotes a shared sense of togetherness among team members. By sharing a sort of nationalistic bond with the company, these employees create a common ground in the workplace. A sales team’s sense of office pride cultivates loyalty to the company and inspires members to invest in the team for the long term—a cycle, as we’ve noted, that starts with the manager.
Prepares Team Members for Management Opportunities
Management is a skill best learned through first-hand observation. By observing effective leadership, sales team members discover how to become great leaders. Great managers provide team members with a clear view of the leadership process to ensure they understand how to lead. This puts team members on the right path and gives them the independence they need to grow into the future leaders of your company.
If you don’t have leadership in place that encourages independent development—even at the cost of enduring occasional mistakes—you aren’t working toward a sustainable future for your sales department. Teaching a sales team how to become gifted leaders requires management that trusts and respects the team enough to allow them to work independently. Although this process may start with a few failures, the trust afforded by thoughtful managers ultimately leads to employees that are more confident in their own abilities.
Grooming salespeople involves leading by example instead of simply telling team members what to do. A manager’s behavior and work ethic should reflect a manager’s expectations for team members. No one likes working for a lazy manager that expects the team to do all the work. The best managers show their team that they’re willing to work just as hard alongside them. In return, the sales team learns to mirror the strong work ethic and implements techniques as they move up the managerial ranks.
Teaches the Importance of Trust and Respect
Team leaders who demonstrate effective management tactics create a model for how individual team members should treat one another. Showing a team understanding and trust leads to team members who reciprocate with managers and the rest of the team. This helps the sales team develop trust and respect for each other.
Managerial trust also lets team members know that their opinions and skills have value, which helps develop self-confidence. Importantly, this means allowing a sales team to work without constant oversight. Micro-managers achieve short-term results at the cost of long-term employee development.
Further, good managers create an environment in which it is okay to admit weaknesses. This, in turn, creates a better final product by allowing a team member with specific skills to take over part of a project that’s outside the core abilities of a fellow team member. Managers who allow employees to take on individual and group responsibilities teach their sales team to rely on one another and trust teammates to execute their part of the project, or ask for help when it’s needed. Building mutual trust shows that managers respect employees’ work process.
As the head of the department, managers encourage leadership abilities within every member of the team. Great managers teach emotional intelligence, provide motivation to succeed, instill pride in the company, and prepare team members for future management roles. They demonstrate trust and respect, and allow the team to create a more cohesive bond. Effective managers who lead by example are the essential first step toward building a great sales team that consistently delivers results.