What a Sales Rep looks for in a Great Manager . . .

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I thought you said he was a “Great” Sales Manager . . .

Managers, both good and bad, can have a huge impact on the performance of an individual sales rep or even an entire team.  The amount of support, direction, and motivation people receive from their manager can ultimately affect the quality of their work, their effectiveness, efficiency, and yes their income(s). Without quality leadership, reps are often left to their own devices.

Having been in sales for a number of years and having held a variety of sales related positions (including management) in a various companies (both large and small), I have had more than my share of managers. Too many, in fact, to even count, trust me I tried. Which by the way, is no surprise as according to a recent survey, the average tenure of a sales leader is a whopping 19 months.

Just like sale people, sales managers come in all shapes and size, have different philosophies, styles, and behaviors. Some are really good and some are just downright awful.

If you really take the time to think about it, you probably won’t remember the average or OK manger. It seems like we always remember either the really bad (if you have had them) or the GREAT manager. Either way we all have a manager, unless of course you are the boss, in which case your spouse is probably your manager (come on admit it, we all know who wears the proverbial pants in the family), but I digress.

Now I have read numerous blog posts and various articles written by some of the industries top sales leaders about what makes a great sales leader, great. Many point to the obvious (coaching, motivating, providing vision, etc.) while others have focused on character traits and personal attributes (empathy, patience, enthusiasm). While these are all important, the point is, as sales professionals we don’t have the luxury to choose.

The question is, what would you look for IF you could choose? What would he or she do that would inspire you to greatness?

Well, I decide to put the question to one of my groups on LinkedIn, my personal favorite, Sales Playbook, as it full of Sales Rock Stars.  I asked the group the following:

“Most of us know what sales managers look for in great sales reps, but as a sales rep, what do you look for in a great sales manager?”

The responses were varied and of course there was the usual side notes but overall there was a general concisions. The following is the group’s 10 most mentioned things that they look for in a GREAT Sales Manager:

  1. Eliminate Barriers (internal & External)
  2. Treats each rep as an individual
  3. Consistent
  4. Listens
  5. Strategic
  6. Inspires
  7. Respect
  8. Proficient
  9. Competent
  10. Balance

Were there other items mentioned? Yes of course but what struck me the most was what wasn’t mentioned. Things like I already mentioned above and a lot more (or in this case less) of what many bloggers believe what makes a great leader. I guess it might have something to do with why the average tenure of a “Sales Leader” is only 19 months.  Ironic? You tell me.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree, disagree?

Feel free to share your comments.

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Categories: Sales

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