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The Qualities of a Great Sales Manager

By: Janice Bandick

Published On: April 7, 2015

Research has shown that 55 per cent of people who work in sales are in the wrong profession. Because they are in short supply, when organizations find a great sales rep who is motivated and successful, they often want to reward (and retain) them by offering the rep a promotion to sales manager. Sounds logical, right? Wrong.

The qualities that make an excellent salesperson have little or nothing to do with the skills necessary to manage and lead people. Many executives believe that those who sell the most make the best sales managers, but research conducted by Drew Stevens, Ph.D., author of ‘Split Second Selling‘ suggests that 77 per cent of the time, managers make mistakes promoting sales reps into sales management.

sales manager

Whether you’re a sales executive who wants to help employees successfully navigate the transition, or trying to make the leap to manager yourself, the question is: What qualities predict success as a sales manager?


This is also one of the top qualities of a great sales manager, and the only one that can’t be taught. Without a passion for the industry, or a belief in the product or service you are selling, it’s impossible to lead and inspire a team.


If a company is experiencing a major downturn or things go wrong, employees look to managers for answers and guidance. A great sales manager will remain calm and confident, analyze the solution, and provide thoughtful solutions.

A Positive Attitude

It’s up to team’s leader to set the tone for the company. A salesperson who is optimistic can be described as someone who is persistent – an invaluable trait in the sales industry because of the frequency of rejection.

A Team Player

Many top salespeople prefer to work alone. Sales management requires you to work closely with other people all day long. Not only do you have to supervise your own team, you will also be expected to report back to upper management on a regular basis.

Results Oriented

Great sales managers are clear about exactly what results they want and are able to effectively communicate their desired results to subordinates.


When selecting a sales manager it might be tempting to give the position to a top producer or your best closer, but that’s not necessarily the best person for the job. The customer-service skills that make an employee a great salesperson are quite different from the ones necessary to inspire, motivate and train others. Many of these skills can be developed and strengthened over time, so remember that there are always growing pains associated with any internal promotion, be patient with new leaders and remember that every manager has their own unique personality.



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  1. isoke James says:

    That’s true. I work as sales manager in a breweries company, but its not easy
    You need a sound mind to keep things moving, a lot of challenges that make you fill like leaving the job, but you have to stand firm on behalf of the company

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