17 Sales Management Skills Every Manager Must Master

17 Sales Management Skills Every Manager Must Master

Sales managers are some of the most valuable people in any business. Superstar sales managers contribute their unique and important sales skills to drive profits and take businesses to new heights. Ready to join the elite? Here’s a closer look at 17 important sales skills that can help you become an amazing sales manager.

17 Sales Management Skills You Should Master

Let’s jump right into the action and check out the best skills for sales rep managers. This list will also show you how to sharpen each sales skill.

1. Recruit and train the right salespeople.

The right salespeople can make or break a sales department. Master sales managers can spot and nurture the right sales talent and find the ones with the soft sales skills you need to address your team’s pain points. So they need to be able to enhance the performance of their department.

But there are no easy tasks in sales. It’s a tough job that requires a blend of unique personality traits. So sales managers must hone their people skills and spot these traits in people.

How to find and hire the best salespeople

You should try to develop close ties with HR, to develop a rigid recruitment funnel and sharpen your recruitment skills. It’s also important to consider your team and carefully identify the profiles you need. Use social media to cast a wider net and find prospects that can improve your sales process

2. Analyze the performance of your team.

Sales is a field that’s driven by quantifiable statistics. The best sales managers can interpret the numbers to determine how their team performs. 

To guide their decision-making, sales managers should look at the right statistics. For example, a sales manager might find that productivity is lower than expected, so he or she can make an effort to try to resolve the issue.

How to analyze the performance of your sales team

First and foremost, you should take stock of the tools you’re using. Can those tools give you the data and skills you need? To find out, you should develop an understanding of how to assess these numbers and respond appropriately.

3. Create and implement a sales strategy.

Since sales managers have expert knowledge about their organizations, the rest of the team looks to them for a great sales strategy. The best sales managers can create clear, accurate plans that eliminate chaos and improve sales skills.

Sales managers should understand both sides of a sales strategy. On one hand, they should understand the purpose of the sales strategy. On the other hand, they should understand ways to create this strategy. 

How to improve your sales strategy

Lots of resources out there can help you create a fantastic sales strategy. You should explore these resources and learn ways to package and present your strategy.

4. Develop and meet sales targets.

Every sales manager knows creating and meeting sales targets is very difficult. The best sales managers can call on reliable data that will create sales targets that are achievable yet ambitious.

In addition, sales managers keep a constant eye on goals that could appropriately steer their teams. Therefore, sales managers have better chances to boost their teams’ results and hit these critical targets.

How to develop and meet sales targets

You must develop your general business understanding to develop a true understanding of numbers. Your targets should be logical, accurate, and achievable. This guide about setting and achieving sales goals is useful.

5. Nourish an honest, clear communication style.

Sales is a tough field that’s littered with tricky conversations. Sales managers are able to confidently stride through these conversations and communicate clearly and honestly that keeps things moving forward.

These communication skills can help sales managers persuade your prospects and clients. When managing a sales team (especially salespeople with senior profiles), this style can be a major asset.  

How to develop an honest communication style

Do you have a good understanding of the way you come across during professional conversations? Try to consider clearly the way you sound and the impressions you make on people. Also, try to incorporate the best qualities of your idols and mentors.

Train your reps on improving their soft skills, like their communication skills and relationship building, to establish an honest discussion with your leads about their pain points.

6. Harness an analytical mindset.

Over the course of the day, sales managers have to wear a lot of hats and constantly change their mindsets. The best sales managers have soft sales skills that allow them to be charming and social while remaining deeply analytical and focused.

To perform well, sales managers need to develop an analytical mindset. This state of mind helps them dig deep into the numbers while maintaining control over their targets and their teams’ performances. This mindset also helps them develop their business acumen.

How to develop an analytical mindset

You can use lots of techniques to improve your thinking and soft skills. These techniques can improve your ability to think on your feet, analyze large swathes of data, and solve problems as they arise. To learn more, check out these 12 ways to improve your analytical thinking skills.

7. Master cross-functional projects

As a sales manager, you’ll probably collaborate on cross-functional projects with other departments. The best sales managers understand their responsibilities and the ways they can drive their projects forward.

Quality sales managers are respected and valued in their organizations. To lead the charge, managers and team members from other departments know they can rely on these sales managers.

How to collaborate on cross-functional projects

The key to shining during a cross-functional project is understanding the profiles and goals of your team members. For example, if you understand what marketing hopes to achieve, you can collaborate on a deeper level and amaze your team.

8. Perfect your time management skills.

Sales managers often find themselves rushing around when hopping from task to task. The best sales managers can control their time, optimize their productivity, and maximize the results they achieve.

For sales managers, time management is a crucial skill. If sales managers cannot properly track their time, they’ll struggle to stay motivated and effectively lead their teams to success.

How to improve your time management skills

If you’re concerned about your time management skills, you should try to follow some practical steps. For example, you could take the time to think about how long a particular task will take your team to complete, then try setting strict deadlines. 

9. Learn how to motivate a team.

A great salesperson can turn to their managers for guidance and assistance. When the going gets tough, they also often turn to their managers for motivation. We all know that the sales grind can be difficult. But the best sales managers are always there to rally the troops.

To read their team members’ moods, sales managers should develop their management skills. The most effective sales managers can intuitively take the necessary steps to motivate their salespeople.

How to motivate your sales team

One big part of motivating your sales team boils down to your ability to understand people and authentically communicate. So you should take the time to understand the personalities and preferences of your team members.

10. Remain calm during tough situations.

The world of sales is filled with demanding situations that will test your ability to keep your cool. In these moments, sales managers must remain calm. This practice will be an important part of finding the best way to move forward without making your team anxious. 

Occasionally, a big deal might fall through, or your CRM may unexpectedly crash. Leading sales managers are able to assess these situations and find appropriate solutions quickly.

How to handle tough sales situations

As a sales manager, it’s imperative that you learn from your experiences and maintain a level head at all times. To effectively handle these tricky situations, you should focus on managing stress and avoiding burnout.

11. Understand and collaborate with marketing.

Sales and marketing are closely related. Effective sales managers have a good understanding of marketing, including the role of the team, its goals, and the fundamentals of the field. This practice will help you more seamlessly collaborate. 

Truly stellar sales managers understand how sales and marketing teams work together to lay the foundations for fruitful cooperation. Specifically, they maintain good relationships with other marketing managers and foster close ties between the two departments.

How to develop a positive relationship with marketing

If you find cooperating with your marketing team challenging, you might discover that it boils down to your understanding of the field and your team. To drive real value, you should understand the role marketing plays and the ways your departments can cooperate.

12. Gradually tweak sales strategies.

Countless factors can have an impact on your sales strategy. Since the best sales managers understand this concept, they can predict these changes and adjust their sales strategies without disrupting them too much. 

In this sense, a sales manager is like the captain of a ship. To keep the ship moving forward, he or she should understand ways to respond to myriad changes swiftly. Managers should also figure out how to keep the teams focused without making any dramatic changes.

How to tweak your sales strategy

It’s imperative that you understand the wider context of your sales strategy. This tactic will help you identify potential risks and create contingency plans to keep your sales strategy functional and effective.

13. Maintain knowledge about your business. 

Sales managers aren’t just masters of their fields. They also understand their industry and the products or services they offer. These professionals work tirelessly to understand their businesses and become true service advocates.

Due to this sophisticated understanding, sales managers can engage in high-level conversations and provide their teams with accurate information. This tactic can elevate your organization’s sales profile and help you succeed.

How to develop knowledge about your business 

When it comes to research and learning, sales professionals have to put in a lot of work. You should try to make the most of your relationships with product teams to take full advantage of opportunities to learn from others.

14. Listen to the team, and act on feedback.

Salespeople need to be vocal. After all, isolation is one of the main barriers to sales employee engagement. The best sales professionals lead from the front without losing sight of their team members. Sales leaders should be able to use soft skills like active listening with their teams, understand their perspectives, and respond accordingly.

This mindset can keep sales managers open to new ideas and feedback. It also helps keep salespeople happy while they boost employee retention rates and the overall satisfaction of their sales teams.

How to use active listening with your sales team

You should consider your sales reps and how you interact with them. Are you approachable? Do your salespeople understand how and when to communicate with you? Do your salespeople feel comfortable offering suggestions? Look at reality, and try to foster a relaxed, collaborative environment.

15. Leverage the right sales tools.

Did you know that the average salesperson uses six sales tools? The right sales management tools can help make your sales reps happier and more productive, and it can help them sell more products. However, we all know what it’s like to wrestle with a poor-quality tool.

The most effective sales professionals determine how to clearly understand the tools available on the market. They also understand how these tools integrate and collaborate to achieve maximum efficiency. 

How to choose the right sales tools

The key to putting together an amazing suite of sales tools is research. You should diligently try to develop your understanding of the tools and ways they can help you. You should also understand the practical elements of each tool.

16. Make the tough decisions.

Sales managers need the right skills to face tough decisions almost daily. For example, they might have to choose where to commit resources or understand when to remove a salesperson from the team.

The most valuable sales managers can learn from their experiences, follow their intuition, and make tough decisions. Since the rest of the team looks towards sales managers for guidance, you have to lead them. 

How to handle tough sales decisions

First, you should understand that there’s a difference between theory and practice. A tricky decision may sound simple on paper, but the reality can be much tougher. You should learn from your experiences and those around you, then draw on them to guide your decisions.

17. Confidently discuss money. 

Sales managers often find themselves involved in high-level conversations about money (both internally and externally). The most elegant, trustworthy sales managers have the right sales skills to command and approach the conversation with care.

Sales managers should develop their business acumen and become confident about finance. This skill can give managers the soft sales skills to walk the talk within the C-suite and inspire confidence.

How to speak about money as a sales manager

As a sales manager, increasing your exposure to high-level conversations and observing how experts speak about money is important. So you should borrow their key terms and adopt aspects of their demeanors.


Are you ready to master the sales skills above—and more? We hope this piece has helped you move forward on your journey to becoming the best sales manager you can be. If you want to make a big impact in your organization, learn how MAVEN can help you drive growth with your targeted leads.






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