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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

15 Things Every Great Sales Manager Knows

great sales managerWhat do you consider the greatest job in the world?

Maybe I'm biased, but I'm convinced I have that job. Why? Here’s what I do every day:

  • Talk with people who are actively engaged in sharing important information with me
  • Figure out what makes those people “tick”
  • Work with sales managers to understand the talents of the people they are interviewing
  • Help them to hire the very best people for the job
  • Focus on the unique strengths of individuals
  • And, help managers to coach their direct reports to become wildly successful

And best of all, I have the privilege of working closely with some of the greatest managers out there. After all these years, I can tell you that there are 15 things that every great manager knows. 

15 Things Sales Manager's Know About Talent and Hiring 

1. It All Starts with Talent

The best way to grow a sales organization is to hire people who have the innate abilities to do the job — regardless of their experience (or lack of). Gallup research shows that, beyond a short learning curve, there is little correlation between experience and sales productivity.

2. Bad Hires Happen

Nearly three in four employers say their companies have been adversely affected by a bad hire.Free Download: The Cost of Sales Staff Turnover 

3. Bad Hires Happen Even to The Best of Us 

Research of strong sales teams shows that at least 30% of sales reps are significantly lacking the most critical talents. Imagine if they had gotten every one right.

4. Making the Wrong Hire is a Costly Mistake

It's estimated that the cost to replace an employee can range as high as a shocking 250% of that person’s annual salary. A recent Gallup study gives a conservative estimate stating that the cost of replacing an individual employee can range from one-half to two times the employee's annual salary.

5. Making the Wrong Hire is Even More Costly if They Stay

It's easy to fire someone if they've done something wrong but exceedingly more difficult to fire someone who is underperforming (especially when there is evidence they are trying hard). This is one of the greatest obstacles in organizational growth.

6. You Must Spend the Most Time with The Most Talented 

When you spend time developing a talent (yours or those of the people you manage) you can increase performance up to 10 times! That’s time well spent.

7. It’s a Waste of Time to Try to Fix Weaknesses

If you spend time focused on developing an area of weakness, you'll be waste your time and only increase performance by roughly 10%. You’ll also frustrate everyone involved.

8. Training Makes a Difference – Sometimes

Good sales training is highly effective for those that have the right stuff, but additional training offers little benefit for the bottom 50% of most sales teams.

9. The Secret to Success is Easy

The best way to grow an organization is to grow the people in that organization. And you do that by regularly reflecting on the natural talents of each individual, and challenging yourself to find additional ways to develop those natural talents into strengths.

10. Focusing on Your Strengths Pays Off  

Employees who have the opportunity to focus on their strengths everyday are six times more likely to be engaged in their jobs. They are also three times more likely to report having an excellent quality of life in general. That’s life-changing power in your hands!Experience 2.5x Revenue Growth Through Employee Engagement

11. Strong Relationships Matter

70% of top performers who leave their jobs point directly to a breakdown in their relationship with their manager.

12. Managers That Give Effective Recognition Have Lower Turnover Rates

It's clear, people want to feel appreciated.! U.S. Department of Labor statistics show the number one reason people leave their jobs is because they “don’t feel appreciated.” And 79% of employees who quit their jobs last year cite a lack of appreciation as the main reason for leaving. 

13. Don’t Ignore the People You Hire

Taking the people you hire for granted is a surefire way to drop levels of employee engagement. A recent report shows that 37% of employees prioritize recognition and cite it as the most important support method.  

14. Never Follow the Golden Rule

A great manager never treats others as they themselves want to be treated. Instead, they understand the unique talents and needs of each person they manage and in turn coach each one exactly as they need to be coached. That’s following the Platinum Rule.

15. Managers Make All the Difference 

While it all starts with talent, where there are sales superstars, there's almost always a great manager nearby!

Great sales managers know these things, but even a great sales manager can struggle from time to time with each thing on this list. It's important that sales managers freshen up their skills as they continuously learn and grow also. Taking the time and investing in growth with a Talent Focused Management workshop or individualized coaching could take your skills (and your team's success) to the next level. Talent Insight

*Editor's Note: This article was originally posted in 2018 and has since been updated.

Topics: hiring salespeople Sales