10 ways to know if you have a good Sales Manager

How good is your Sales Manager? Do they give you what you need? Here are 10 ways to find out?

When I talk to salespeople about their jobs, a common complaint I hear is that they are not managed well. Turnover in sales is high. People change jobs all the time. Is the reason people leave companies because they don’t feel they’re supported by their manager?

I know for a fact there are some brilliant managers out there. Last year, we produced the Sales Confidence Top 50 Sales Leaders list. We received hundreds of nominations from salespeople who like and respect their managers. We invite the best sales leaders to speak at our live events, and I know that they’re always thinking of how they can manage their teams more effectively.

Others may not be as lucky, however. Here are 10 questions you can ask yourself to evaluate your manager.

1 — Do they give you independence?

No one likes to be micromanaged. The best managers allow you to make mistakes, as long as you learn from them. They allow you to think for yourself, and are open to hearing your ideas on how to do things better.

2 — Do they pay attention to you?

On the other hand, you do need your manager to be there for you. It’s a balance. Does your manager know where you are against your target? Do they know what you’re doing well at? Are they helping address any deficiencies you may have? A good manager is there for you, always.

3 — Are they honest?

I don’t mean do they have their fingers in the office till! I mean, does your manager tell the truth about what’s going on in the sales office? Are they honest about you? Do they praise you when you do well, and let you know where you can improve when things aren’t so good? Do they recognise your achievements? The best managers don’t shy away from telling the truth, even when it’s uncomfortable.

4 — Do they motivate you?

Does your manager make you want to achieve more? Do they motivate you? If so, how? One of our regular Sales Confidence speakers is Neil Ryland from Peakon. He actually used to be my manager. Neil told us at a live event once that the best managers harness their team’s belief in themselves.

‘You need to remind people every single day about the mission we’re trying to accomplish. It’s about the opportunity. If we build this company, everyone in the world will know who Peakon is. Keep that fact about why you’re doing what you’re doing.’

After that, they go out and do the business!

5 — Do they communicate well?

Do you know exactly what your manager wants from you? If not, it’s likely your manager needs to work on communication between themselves and the team. The best managers communicate well and often. They give clear instructions which are easy to follow.

6 — Do they lead from the front?

An armchair general, hiding in their office while their team does the dirty work, does not make a good sales manager. When Neil Ryland spoke to aspiring managers at Sales Confidence Live, he spelt it out clearly.

A good sales leader is the first into battle. When a difficult job needs doing, it’s your job. Don’t foist the hard or demeaning work onto your team. If your company is bringing something new to the market, you should lead the charge. Make those difficult calls. Take those meetings. Show your team how it’s done properly.

Does your manager do that?

7 — Do they protect you?

Great managers are shields for their team. They protect them from everything that detracts from their primary aim of making sales.

This includes taking the heat from higher up in the company when things aren’t going well. Good managers take responsibility, rather than play the blame game. When things are good, a good sales leader will step out of the limelight and let their team take the credit.

It also means pushing back against people higher up in the company if something they decide will have a negative effect on what you do.

Is your manager a protector, as Neil Ryland outlined in his talk to Sales Confidence?

8 — Are they developing you?

Is your manager taking an active role in your career path? Are they helping you to build your skills so you can take the next step up the ladder? Good managers do this, they don’t hold you back.

9 — Are they fair?

Does your manager treat everyone in your team fairly, or do they play favourites? Are the targets they have set fair and achievable? Are they pulling their weight for the team?

Managers who don’t act fairly, quickly lose the respect of their team.

10 — Do they know you?

I’m not talking about whether they would recognise you if you got stuck in a life with them, although that would be nice. I mean, does your manager take an interest in your life outside work? Do they know what you do for fun? Do they know what drives you? Do they know what you like about your job and what you don’t?

A good manager will take a genuine interest in their team members. It makes them feel comfortable and managers can often use this knowledge to motivate them.

How did your manager do?

Are they doing a good job, or is there room for improvement? Remember these questions if you’re not a manager yet. When you become one, this is what your team will be asking about you!

If you want to hear from the best sales leaders the UK SaaS community has to offer, you need to subscribe to Sales Confidence, as well as come along to our events. Here are the details of the next one. We hope to see you there.

Over to you now. What else makes a good sales leader in your opinion? Let us know in the comments below.

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