8 Crucial Skills Required to Become a Sales Manager in 2021

So you want to pursue a career in sales? To bag a role in sales, you’ll need to develop the right skills. Without the necessary skills, it would be challenging to survive in the cut-throat competition dominating the sales world. 

On the other hand, if you have the right skill set, working as a sales professional would be akin to cutting butter with a hot knife. The following list of skills for a sales manager will help you understand which skills you must develop to get ahead in this sector. 

Top Skills for Sales Manager

Enhancing your sales skills can do wonders for your career. Generating leads, pursuing them, and closing them takes a lot of effort and expertise. Following are the most important skills for sales professionals:

1. Planning 

Planning abilities are crucial to a sales professional’s success. Good planning abilities would help you create realistic plans for achieving your sales targets that consider all the possible factors. 

Having strong planning skills will also help you manage your time better. You can remain more efficient and, as a leader, keep your team more efficient. 

On a macro level, planning would help you lead your team better. Alternatively, on a micro-level, your planning abilities would assist you with every sales prospect. 

2. Leadership 

Companies are always on the lookout for professionals with strong leadership skills. You should know how to take command of situations and lead your team towards success. 

Developing robust leadership skills takes a bit of an effort, but it’s certainly worth it. Leadership skills consist of a wide array of related skills such as teamwork, communication, coaching, etc. 

To develop strong leadership skills, you can start by helping your subordinates in succeeding. Also, you can strive to lead by example like Elon Musk and be a motivation for your fellow team members. 

Read: Sales Manager Salary in India

3. Training and Coaching 

This is one of the most important sales management skills for quickly climbing the corporate ladder. As you’ll gain more experience as a sales professional, your organisation would entrust you with training more sales executives. 

Whether you’re a senior sales executive or a sales manager, you should know how to train other team members. Not only will it make your job easier as a leader, but it will also help you stand out as a valued member of your organisation. 

4. Communication 

Sales roles require you to communicate a lot. You’ll be communicating with your team members, with your leaders, with your clients, and with your prospects. Effective communication is key to closing sales deals. 

Good communication skills help you become more persuasive and convincing. With their help, you can easily enhance the success rate of your sales efforts and convert more prospects into actual sales. It would also help you with handling difficult situations such as a dissatisfied customer or a distressed subordinate. 

5. Organisational Abilities

A sales professional has to handle a lot of responsibilities. As a sales manager, you’ll have to manage your leads, look after your team, track your progress, follow up on existing leads, and perform a plethora of other tasks.

To ensure that you perform all of your duties correctly and on time, you must have strong organisational skills. You should know how to organise your tasks and manoeuvre through them. 

Learn how to prioritise your tasks and determine which skills you should do first. Make sure that you maintain control over how you spend your time. When you’re working with a team, effective organisational skills will ensure that you manage their tasks properly. 

6. Problem-solving 

Sales is a bumpy road because every sales prospect comes with unique challenges. Maybe one prospect requires a lot more research than you expected? Maybe a lead didn’t react to your cold email as you expected? 

To be able to overcome such challenges, you should have good problem-solving skills. This means you should focus on developing your critical thinking abilities. You should know how to analyse the different aspects of a situation and predict the outcomes of different actions. 

You can enhance your problem-solving abilities by trying to actively solve small problems you face in your daily life. 

Related Read: Must have skills at different stages of a sales career

7. Research

One of the most important aspects of sales is research. With proper research on hand, you can enhance your success rate substantially. 

For example, if you know the particular likes and dislikes of a prospect, you can easily use that information in your sales pitch. However, apart from researching prospective clients, you will also have to conduct regular research on your competition and market.

Sales managers have to stay up to date with the latest industry trends. You must know what’s going on in the market, or you’ll lag behind your competitors. Competitive research is a vital aspect of the sales process. 

8. Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence means one’s ability to read human emotions. You should know how to know which emotion a particular person is feeling by recognising their body language and behaviour. 

Strong emotional intelligence is a must-have for leadership professionals. Moreover, it will also help you with prospecting your leads and closing the sales. You can work on enhancing your emotional intelligence abilities by practising self-awareness. 

Start with studying your behaviour and see how you behave while feeling specific emotions. Then, you can start identifying these behaviours in other people and strengthen your emotional intelligence. 

How to Acquire the Requisite Sales Management Skills?

Sales is a broad field and require you to develop numerous skills to succeed. Developing all of these skills by yourself can be very difficult. 

The best way to develop these skills is by taking a course in sales. A sales course will help you get guidance from a mentor and learn these skills step-by-step in a well-structured order. 

At upGrad, we offer a Job-linked PG Certification in Sales program. The program lasts for six months and teaches you all the necessary skills for becoming a successful sales manager. 

As it’s a job-linked program, you will get your first interview opportunity from the third week of the program. We offer full-fledged placement assistance and support with this program to help you kickstart your sales career easily. 

Some of the essential skills you will learn in this program are: 

  • Interpersonal and communication skills
  • Productivity management
  • Lead generating
  • Prospecting the lead
  • Adaptability to change
  • Business growth and marketing strategies
  • Account management
  • Thinking and problem solving

After completing this program, you can pursue job opportunities in many lucrative industries such as Fintech, Edutech, BFSI, FMCG, and many others. You only need to be a graduate in any discipline to be eligible for this program. 

This course offers you 160+ hours of learning and a dedicated mentor to help you learn every concept smoothly and efficiently. You will receive hands-on training and networking opportunities with this course. 

Conclusion

As you can see, sales managers must possess a versatile set of skills. Like most competitive roles, sales professionals must strive to stay on top of the industry trends and enhance their skills through continual upskilling. 

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