Essential Sales Manager Skills

Sales managers are responsible for your team and its productivity. They’re required to motivate reps on an individual and team level, manage sales reporting, recruit, train, and more. A good sales manager needs to be more than just an excellent closer. Here are some essential sales manager skills to look for in the best candidates.

Do you need help finding the right sales talent? With HireDNA’s science-based system, we have achieved an 80% placement success rate. For further information contact our sales recruiting experts today.

Top Qualities Of An Effective Sales Manager

The three hallmarks of a good leader are their ability to inspire innovation, incentivize results, and build strong communication channels within the team. Simply put, a good sales manager is often judged through the performance of their team, rather than through their personal capacity to produce individual results.

Good sales managers achieve team objectives by streamlining sales cycles and setting motivating, yet realistic goals. They should be able to create a sense of purpose in their salespeople, encouraging them to see sales as alleviating a customer’s pain points rather than just reaching their targets.

Leadership requires keeping an eye out for improvement opportunities to help other sales reps meet requirements and quotas more efficiently. These can include providing administrative support, upgrading the CRM for more actionable data, re-assigning or mixing up tasks to promote competition, and more.

Training, Coaching & Mentoring

According to a study by Ohio University, 65% of sales reps under the best 25% sales managers were hitting their individual quotas. And, according to 74% of industry leaders, sales training and mentoring is the most important roles managers play.

This indicates the importance of having a skilled, knowledgeable manager in place who can pass on their know-how through training, coaching, and mentoring. With the acumen to identify struggling reps and recognize challenging situations, managers should be ready to step in and help wherever needed.

These questions are a good starting point when evaluating a sales team:

  • Are there any situations that team members find challenging?
  • Are there any new hires that might require assistance adjusting to the company’s sales cycle?
  • Are there any pre-existing employees that are having a bad quarter?
  • Can my personal experience in certain situations be used to train such individuals?

At HireDNA, we can help you evaluate your team and provide the training to help you be more productive than ever. Our innovative sales training strategies can help you shorten your training time by 50% for faster and more effective coaching!

Performance Evaluation & Management

According to Salesforce, the majority of a sales manager’s time—around 32%—is spent managing people. But what exactly is performance management?

While the implementation of the task may vary, performance management is the process of analyzing quarterly sales targets, identifying low-performing reps, and strategizing ways to deal with challenges. It is, at times, confused with performance evaluation—but while the latter involves productivity appraisals, managing involves a more holistic approach that includes evaluations plus:

  • Sales data analysis
  • Identifying key performance issues
  • Reporting to upper management

Great sales managers understand that unchecked issues can lead to a low morale and missed targets, thereby decreasing the efficiency of the entire team. They also have the skill and the drive to take action to resolve these issues.

Ability To Identify & Build A Talented Sales Team

While most sales managers usually work with an already existing team, they may be tasked with recruiting new sales reps from time to time. But even good managers can find the recruiting process daunting.

An inability to scout the right talent for your team could potentially damage your sales capabilities and make it difficult to meet targets. Therefore, it’s important for sales managers to systemically identify the correct candidates, recognize hiring mistakes and build a strong sales team—or they should know when it’s best to seek help from a professional recruiter.

Are you looking to hire a sales manager? Join us for a live webinar on October 17th at 11 AM to learn the science behind the OMG Sales Candidate assessment and how it accurately evaluates sales management skills and predicts success. Join us!

Build A Productive Sales Team

HireDNA helps managers build high-performing sales teams, cutting down on hiring mistakes that can be costly in the long run. For the last decade, our data-driven, results-oriented insights, combined with our science-based methods, have ensured that our clients find the right salespeople for the job. Let us help you grow your team for success.

Why Choose Us?

  • We help our clients ramp up new hires with 50% faster training
  • Our training and onboarding strategies increase candidate retention by 79%
  • We help you eliminate hiring mistakes by 96%
  • We have an 80% job placement success rate

Whether you’re a sales manager looking for strong reps to join your team or you need to hire a top sales manager, we can help you find and land the best candidates.


How To Set Measurable Sales Goals & Objectives

The biggest mistake that sales managers make when setting goals is focusing entirely on numbers. Sure, the sales force is judged on its ability to increase revenue and foster financial growth—but you need a solid roadmap to get there. Here’s a quick guide on how to set measurable sales goals and objectives to give your team a roadmap for success.

Our industry-leading sales recruiting, evaluation, and training process can reveal all the obstacles to your sales team’s success. Speak with a HireDNA sales recruiting and training expert today.

Break Up Annual Goals Into Monthly Goals

When setting targets and objectives for your team, it’s important to specify the big picture for the annual term, but it’s even more important to break that bigger picture into more actionable monthly or quarterly goals that can seem more manageable. Breaking down an intimidating figure into convenient installments can help alleviate stress for your team while helping to better ensure you are on track throughout the year.

You can calculate your monthly departmental goals by working back from the annual target set forth by your company. You can narrow these goals down even further by calculating how much your team and each individual rep needs to sell to meet that goal.

When setting these monthly goals, one important aspect is to factor in seasonal and staffing fluctuations. For instance, if you are planning to hire four new salespeople for your company in the last quarter, meeting an aggressive goal in Q4 may be unrealistic, as you will not have trained employees. One way to counter this is to ensure that you set a higher-than-average goal for the 3rd quarter (or for the first three quarters).

Set Specific Activity-Based Goals

study by Harvard University found that setting specific targets can increase your performance by as much as 30%. But how can you do this as a sales manager? Let’s look at an example:

Assume one sales rep needs to close at least $5,000 worth of deals to meet your monthly target. Start by analyzing how the salesperson performs throughout the entire sales funnel (emails, calls, demos, meetings, etc.)

Assume that their history suggests they have to close at least 6 deals a month to hit their quota. If you know that only half of their product demos tend to convert into deals, then you know they need to make at least 12 demos this month.

Now take this a step further. If only 30% of the rep’s calls result in a demo, you can set the very specific KPI that they need to call at least 40 prospects this month, or roughly 10 per week. This way, you can specify the rep’s goals down to each activity while helping to make their work appear a lot more manageable in the short-run.

Our science-backed sales assessment can identify motivators that keep your reps driven to perform, leading to a 33% boost in sales productivity.

Give Incentives For Smaller Goals

While meeting annual quotas is often rewarded with several incentives, salespeople often disregard smaller goals, because there is little motivation beyond the big picture incentive.

For this, sales managers need to know what motivates their reps. This can be a financial incentive, such as a cash bonus, or a simple reward like a round of golf at their favorite course. It doesn’t matter if you have budgetary constraints either—even the promise of additional vacation time or a recognition program can help to motivate your sales reps to meet all their short- and long-term goals.

Prioritize What You Want Accomplished First

Salespeople need to juggle many tasks, which is why sales managers need to ensure they clearly define which tasks are of higher priority. Determine the most important goals for your organization and make sure they are presented to your team in a way that clearly defines priority.

The sequencing of goals can differ from sales rep to sales rep as well. For example, a closing sales rep must be tasked with prioritizing the number of deals they convert, whereas sales development roles should work to improve their prospecting. A logical goal for the former would be to increase their outreach calls by 20% whereas senior employees must prioritize their revenue figures.

In an ideal world, every organizational goal and objective would be met—but this is not always the case. Prioritizing goals strategically can help to improve performance and reinforce the right behaviors while helping to improve your chances of meeting those goals that matter most.

Plan For Impending Failure

While no sales manager plans to fail, they must accept the reality that unforeseen circumstances are an unavoidable part of business. There is no such thing as a sound organizational strategy that does not take skill gaps, market barriers, and other obstacles into account.

Part of setting sales goals includes having a backup strategy to troubleshoot potential problems as they arise so you can get back to your normal efficiency as quickly as possible.

You can start off by identifying potential hurdles that can stop you from achieving your goals and take steps to position yourself to avoid these. Lastly, you should plan ahead to establish a strategy that can help you tackle these issues in the event that they do arise.

A great way to identify and resolve potential roadblocks before they impact your sales performance is to conduct a thorough evaluation of your sales people, process, tools, and systems. This process will provide valuable insights to align you goals and capabilities to drive performance. Learn more about evaluating your sales force here.

Build A Productive Sales Team

With a comprehensive sales force evaluation, HireDNA helps organizations identify core KPIs, uncover skill gaps, and reveal actionable strategies to help drive sustainable growth. We provide data-driven insights and science-based assessments to help you build a high-performance sales culture that has helped our clients deliver consistent results for the past decade.

Why Choose Us?

  • We help our clients discover 33% more sales opportunities
  • Our professional assessments can help increase top-line revenue by 25%
  • We deliver our services across 200 industries around the globe

Determined to improve your existing skill gaps and resolve weaknesses?


Most Effective Sales Recruiting Strategies In 2019

No matter how great your product is, if you don’t have the right sales team to close deals, you won’t experience success. Yet research shows that 46% of sales hires fail within the first 18 months on the job. This indicates that many companies are using ineffective recruitment strategies to seek out the right talent. In this post, we’d like to share some of the most effective sales recruiting strategies to help you find and hire the best salespeople for your organization.

Contact the sales recruiting and training experts at HireDNA to help you hire, train, and retain top sales talent. Contact Us

Most Effective Sales Recruiting Strategies

Top salespeople are rare and incredibly prized. They are often already employed and make a good living for themselves, which means recruiting them can take more than just posting an online job and waiting for the perfect candidate to find you. A sustained, full-channel recruiting strategy is needed to attract high performing salespeople. Here are some strategies to keep in mind:

Build Your Brand

A high performing salesperson will only work in a company that is as ambitious as they are. An established, maintained brand image could help to tilt the decision in your favor, especially if the salesperson has offers from multiple organizations.

The best way to create a positive brand image as an employer is to work on your website—most importantly, your careers page. Try to showcase what it’s like to work for your organization and what makes you better than the competition.

Social media platforms like LinkedIn are also excellent areas to build your brand and attract top talent. In fact, 70 percent of the people who follow a company on LinkedIn say that they would like to work for them. Be sure to regularly post and share content, and don’t be afraid to message candidates directly.

Plan Your Interviews Meticulously

Interviewing only when employee turnover pushes you to do so can be a dangerous practice. The pressure to fill a position may lead you to hire a sub-par employee. Instead, work to proactively build a roster of strong candidates. You should be in constant recruiting mode, seeking out and screening top candidates so you can reach out whenever a position needs to be filled.

During the actual interview, keep in mind that a conversational style is more likely to elicit gut responses that can help you to pinpoint the true skills of the interviewee. Check out our blog post on Top Situational Interview Questions for key questions to help you effectively assess candidates.

Don’t Give In To First Impressions

Around 80% of a salesperson’s success is a result of their mindset rather than their learned skills. The fact of the matter is, only around 26% of people have what it takes to succeed in this highly demanding field.

When you are working to recruit top talent, it’s important to keep an open mind. It’s important not to reject applicants or candidates outright based on a first impression from experience listed on their resume, as they might have something even better—a sales mindset.

A science-based sales candidate assessment is the best way to identify candidates with the right mix of sales DNA for your organization. At HireDNA, we use the OMG Sales Assessment Tool, which goes beyond personality traits to assess 21 core selling competencies possessed by top sales performers in your industry. Learn more.

Invest In Referrals

Referrals have long been one of the best ways to find exceptional talent. Unsurprisingly, great salespeople happen to know other top salespeople who may be looking for a new opportunity. Internal marketing is a great way to encourage referrals, which can be a very cost-effective recruitment strategy. You can even introduce a referral program where you reward employees for referring great talent that results in a successful hire.

Keep It Brief

A long, drawn-out hiring and recruitment process could be a deterrent. The top salespeople likely already have multiple offers in hand. They might take a job with your competitor while you’re busy trying to reach a decision. It’s important to keep your overall process short and practical, acknowledging that this is a talent-driven market.

Hire The Best Sales Talent With HireDNA

Finding and recruiting top sales talent is essential for future success. But this can be challenging. In fact, 53% of sales hires eventually fail to live up to expectations.

At HireDNA, however, we offer 10 years of recruitment and training expertise to help you find the right candidate. Our science-based predictive hiring process has resulted in an 80% successful placements rate.

Why Choose Us?

  • 92% of our recommended candidates reach the top half of the sales force within a year
  • Hiring mistakes eliminated up to 96%
  • 79% candidate retention rate
  • Our new hires ramp up 50% faster than the industry average

Do you need help recruiting top salespeople?