Sales professionals who wish to be successful often aspire to become part of the sales management team. But mastering the challenges of planning sales strategies, recruiting and leading a team of sales people, and achieving sales outcome is often not as straightforward as it seems. In this article, we look at what are the qualities and attributes of an effective sales manager and how you can become one too.

Distinguishing Qualities & Key Characteristics

To succeed in today’s business environment as a sales manager, it is necessary to look beyond sales figures and net profits. Effective sales management is measured by the following factors:

  • A flourishing and prospering sales force
  • A customer base which is satisfied beyond expectation

A sales team, managed by a great sales manager, will not only be consistently productive, but is easier to retain and more loyal in the long term.

Distinguishing Qualities of a Great Sales Manager

Effectively motivating and leading a team to achieve the goals and objectives of the organisation are the hallmarks of a great sales manager. Sales management at its best is twofold, and seemingly contrary

  • It executes command intention: Enforcing strict instructions to produce the results that ownership and management need.
  • It queries the orders: Questioning and even challenging instructions that may prevent achievement of sales goals.

Authority is a clear sign that a Sales Manager is doing his/her job well, but the use of that authority must lead to respect and not contempt. Correction of poor attitude in sales staff is completed with skill and understanding, with the firmness and level of authority corresponding to the circumstances of the situation.

A good sales manager is continuously improving, becoming more knowledgable and effective over time, using experience and knowledge to help their team succeed.

Setting achievable but challenging goals, and doing everything possible to ensure that the team reach, or exceed those goals is the mark of a great sales manage

Key Characteristics of Top Performing Managers

The effective sales manager is not necessarily the best sales person; in fact, his or her role must extend beyond selling in order to be successful. The skills required for multiple roles make this challenging for most to excel

The Motivator an inspirational figure who will rally the sales force at times of discouragement. He/she will have an in depth understanding of what motivates each member of the sales team, and will use that knowledge to inspire when needed. Effective sales managers recognise that monetary incentives alone cannot make a great sales team. The ability to keep going during difficult times is what makes a great sales team.

The Performance Manager is about accountability. He/she holds the sales team, and themselve, accountable for performance. The manager makes no excuse for poor performance; he/ she measures and analyses key data to identify what caused roadblocks, then remedies them to bring performance back on track.

The Coach Is also the knowledge bank that supports the sales team. Beyond teaching, coaches help the team learn, and challenges them to constantly improve while allowing room for failure that helps drive growth. They do not help by taking over the job of the sales team but help them to succeed in what they do.

The Mentor, unlike the coach, focusus on the career and personal growth of each team member. The mentor provides long term support for sales staff to achieve their dreams at work, and maybe even outside work too.

The Recruiter is focused on identifying talent. He/she actively networks with clients, prospects and even competitors to locate and recruit the best talent for the company. By being proactive, a reserve list of possible candidates is always available when any staff leave. The effective sales manager should spend 80% of his or her time on these roles if he or she is to have an effective impact on sales results.

The Making of A Sales Manager

There is a difference between good sales managers and the really great sales managers. The great ones stand out from the crowd, are easily identified, and are head hunted regularly. In a recession, they not only keep their jobs, they thrive.

  • Focuses only on numbers
  • Enforces activity rates
  • Bullies and replaces staffs on whims.
  • Suffers high turnover rate
  • Has poor customer satisfaction

An effective sales manager is aware that numbers are important, but recognises that a good sales result is the consequence of effective team management

Effective Sales Manager


  • Make sure that the team achieves their goals.
  • Has low turnover rate
  • Attacts the best people
  • Enjoys high level of customer satisfaction
  • Enjoys low costs of sales
  • Ensure that effort corresponds with reward
  • Solve problems instead of create them
  • Provide support and help when needed

The effective sales manager creates such a workplace, making it conducive to growth and performance


The effective sales manager is a composite of experience, personality traits, skills, and attitudes. He looks to the betterment of their team. They motivate and nurture the team while always on top of their performance. They expects excellence and achievement and are helpful at all times. They command respect and earn loyalty. Nothing is achieved by ‘luck’ but effective planning and effort. Ω