Sales managers have to constantly evolve, or the sales world will pass them by – quickly. Just as individual contributors have to sharpen their sales skills on a consistent basis, leaders have to sharpen their leadership skills.
Consider text messages. Ten years ago, sales reps didn’t use text messages to prospect, advance a deal or even close an opportunity; today, they do all three. Sales teams that don’t incorporate text are missing out and are quickly left behind.
Here are a few areas where sales leaders and those in sales management should stay up to date as their careers progress:
Sales tools have exploded in recent years, and it can be hard to keep up with everything that’s available. Use platforms like G2, Capterra and Gartner to help. These platforms make it easier to learn about, and stay on top of, new technologies and what the marketplace thinks of them. It’s also helpful to occasionally sit in on demos or webinars of new tools. You may learn something that can be helpful in the future.
It’s critical that sales leaders develop a connection with the teams they are managing. As a manager progresses in his or her career, it can be harder to facilitate that connection. It’s important to dedicate time to talk to new employees, understand what motivates them and learn what they want to get out of their work experience. Dedicating time to connecting outside of work — lunches, dinners, happy hours, and charitable events are all great ways to do this. Connecting outside of the office helps managers start to develop a positive culture that facilitates growth and success.
Sales methodologies are constantly changing, and so is the way buyers buy — and how they want to be sold to. It’s critical to reassess your sales process on a regular basis. Make sure you are consistently monitoring your core KPIs. As KPIs change, sales leaders need to change their sales processes to adapt.
There are also many groups and associations where you can find leaders who are open to networking and sharing best practices. The AA-ISP and the Pavilion (formerly Revenue Collective) are two very popular groups.
As sales managers advance in their careers, they tend to start to think they know everything. This is a dangerous mindset to have, because it means you’re not learning. It’s important to continue to read about best practices and thought leadership from your peers – even if you don’t agree with some of their strategies or processes. One day, you may find yourself incorporating them into your sales process.
Sales management needs to constantly evolve. The business world changes rapidly, and what worked last year may not work today. It’s up to you to keep up and advance your sales teams accordingly.
Read more tips for sales leaders: Four Ways to Improve Your Sales Team Performance