If you just started working as a sales manager, you now have more responsibilities than ever. In addition to working with customers, you are responsible for hiring and training salespeople, forecasting monthly or quarterly sales, distributing leads to your sales team, and producing sales reports. As a new sales manager, you must also be willing to ask hard questions about your team members, the future of your company and the sales industry as a whole.
When you prepare sales reports, you must ask yourself if there are any potential vulnerabilities. Sales might be good now, but that doesn't mean they are going to improve a few months from now. As a sales manager, you must be able to spot any weaknesses or threats to your sales team. If one of your products is quickly becoming obsolete, you need to have your team focus on selling other products. If a competitor unveils a product with features similar to a product sold by your company, you might have to provide additional training to help your salespeople do a better job describing the features and benefits of the product to potential customers.
You also need to ask if there are any impending deals that are at risk of falling through. Too many salespeople get their hopes up about big deals, only to have those hopes crushed when the prospect decides not to place an order. As a sales manager, you must meet with employees and review sales data regularly to determine if there are any potential problems. If one of your hottest prospects stops returning phone calls, you need to adjust your sales strategy or assign a new salesperson to work with that prospect.
A good sales manager is also able to identify opportunities that have stalled out. This is a skill you develop over time, so make sure you talk to your salespeople regularly. Review daily or weekly reports to determine if there are any prospects you need to contact. In some cases, a deal stalls because the prospect is trying to line up financing or get approval to make a large purchase from executives or a board of directors. Some deals stall because the prospects are waiting on information from your company. There's not much you can do about external factors, but you can make sure your salespeople provide sales information in a timely manner.
Finally, you need to ask yourself if you have a good win rate. As a sales manager, you might be tempted to calculate your win rate by dividing the number of deals closed by the number of opportunities you had to make a sale. A better way to determine your win rate is to divide the amount of business you closed by the total value of the sales opportunities you had in a particular time period.
Once you are promoted to sales manager, you must keep your sales skills fresh and learn new skills to help you manage your team effectively. This is one of the most important roles in the sales industry, so ask these questions to ensure you succeed.
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