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Seb Anthony

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Training for sales managers


I've been tasked to identify what key skills are needed by senior managers who manage sales teams. The sales teams are based in offices remote from their manager. My other research suggests their skills are no different from any other type of manager but I have a nagging doubt I've missed something obvious!
Gillian Caldicott

5 Responses

  1. Many skills needed
    Sales managers have to be good sales people, good forecasters and good people managers. This is difficult since many good sales people are not natural coaches or team players. If you are promoting sales people into management positions then they need to learn skills in coaching, empowerment, objective setting, appraisals, giving feedback, communication etc. All the skills of management. The trouble is they also carry a sales target and can become so task oriented that it is difficult to develop the softer skills needed. Pipeline management and forecasting are key skills that they need to develop in addition to all the traditional man management skills.

  2. Sales Management
    Gillian – yes there are of course the generic management skills you would seek from any manager, but there are also role-specific skills, just as you would expect from say a Finance Manager or a Marketing Manager.

    At the risk of self promotion, might you find a copy of ‘The First-time Sales Manager’ helpful? – Mercury Books 2000, ISBN 1-85252-397-2. You don’t have to buy it! – most public libraries have it.

    Goos luck!

  3. virtual cross functional management
    In the more complex selling situations the sales leader will need to mobilise, manage and lead cross functional virtual teams. The members of the teams will frequantly have different priorities and perspectives making this particularly challenging. The skills required are common management/ leadership skills that need to be delivered in a way that can be applied in real business situation such as this.

    Geographic and budget constraints mean than communication by conference call is becoming more frequant. Dependent on your circumstances this could be a key challenge for your sales leaders.

    Hope this helps.

  4. How about profiling your best sales managers?
    Dear Gillian

    Every organisation is unique, including yours, so I doubt there is one way to be an excellent sales manager that fits all of them. You can find out what your best sales managers do and how they think. If you know this, you will be able to design training to bring the others up to that standard. You might even improve your recruitment of sales managers too.

    I have “profiled” the best sales people in a computer company by listening to them in depth and “laddering” to find what they thought was important. The results were surprising – one element was “The ability to ask cheeky questions”!

    This method should work for sales managers too. If you would like more information, please email [email protected] or call 01707 886553

    Best wishes



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