Sales Manager Skills

by Mark Ko
Sales Manager Skills

Customers are opting for better buying experiences with more communication channels, personalization, and contextualized engagement. In fact, nearly 70 percent of customers say their standards for a good shopping experience are higher than ever. 

New customer standards might seem like an additional challenge for sales and marketing teams, but you should view it as an opportunity to stand out against the competition. Customers will be more loyal to companies they trust (95 percent), and it takes the right sales associates and managers to instill that sense of trust, personalization, and connection.

What Are Sales Manager Skills?

If you want to improve your relationship with customers, you’ll need better sales managers who understand the importance of connecting with customers and improving their experiences. And in order to find the right sales managers, you need to evaluate candidates for their sales manager skills.

Sales manager skills are the capabilities and experiences required to excel as a sales manager. Unlike sales associate positions, sales managers need the leadership and organizational skills to train and manage a team of sales professionals. This means they need all the skills you would seek out in a sales associate, as well as the communication, leadership, and organizational skills required of most management roles. 

Example List of Sales Manager Skills

Here’s a list of some of the most common skills you’d look for in a quality sales manager candidate.

  • Excellent business sense and industry knowledge
  • Strong communication skills
  • Management skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Familiarity with relevant technologies
  • Presentation skills
  • Team-oriented
  • Proven sales record
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Problem-solving
  • Growth mindset
  • Active listening
  • Strong research skills
  • Critical thinking and conflict resolution

What Sales Manager Skills to Hire for?

When hiring a sales manager position, you want all the necessary skills for a sales associate along with managerial and leadership skills. These individuals have usually held long tenures as sales associates and have some management or leadership experience. 

To get the most out of your hiring process, be sure to test and assess for the following skills: 

Soft skills

Customers want to be treated like humans, not numbers. It’s important to hire a sales manager with the right interpersonal and soft skills to add that human touch to the sales experience. It’s important for both your customers and the other sales associates who look to your managers for guidance. If your leaders aren’t modeling the kind of communication styles you want in your sales associates, they probably aren’t the right people for the role. Soft skills include interpersonal skills, communication skills, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, confidence, patience, empathy, and more. 

Leadership and management skills

Leadership skills and experience are a must for individuals in these roles. You need individuals who are ready to lead and who can handle the pressure and demands of navigating a team of sales associates. Sales managers will also need to meet with other departments, so they need an eye for the big picture and the larger demands of an organization. Some of these skills include strategic thinking, communication, leadership skills, conflict resolution, high emotional intelligence, patience, confidence, time management and organizational skills, motivational skills, delegation, and more. 

Sales Manager Skills Assessment and Survey Question Template

Here are a few templates for sales manager skills assessments and survey questions you can use with your candidates. It’s important to remain flexible and adjust the questions to fit the needs of your team and organization. 

Soft skill questions

 

Questions

Strongly agree

Agree

Neutral 

Disagree

Strongly disagree

I tend to defend myself when criticized

         

It’s easy for me to stay calm under pressure

         

I tend to move on quickly from setbacks

         

I try to see things from others’ perspectives, even if I know they’re wrong

         

Scenario response

Sales managers will need a strategic mindset and communication skills to identify issues and handle them in a calm manner. Provide them with this scenario to get a sense of their management style and how they would approach a difficult situation:

One of your sales associates has been underperforming and missing their quarterly goals. The individual is putting effort and clearly trying to improve their performance, but a few things are missing in terms of their approach to sales and strategies. How would you go about approaching this individual with a performance-improvement plan? What are a few steps you would take to ensure the performance plan is effective and the sales associate is responsive to your plan? 

Final thoughts: Sales Manager Skills

The right sales manager will need the right experiences, strategic thinking, interpersonal skills, and sales background to excel in this role. And the best way to verify those skills is through a 360 reference check. Not only are digital reference checks less biased than manual checks, but they also allow you to benefit from self-assessment scores from the candidates themselves. 

Leverage Crosschq’s 360 reference check solutions, quality of hire analytics, CRM+ATS integrations, and more. Find your ideal sales manager with Crosschq today

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Mark Ko

Content Writer

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Topics from this blog: Candidate Assessments

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