As a sales manager, you must know how to sell! That’s a no-brainer, right? However, only selling or closing deals doesn’t guarantee you’re also a good manager. You must have other essential ‘sales manager skills’ to succeed in this role. 

Today, in 2023, you must possess specific skills to navigate the dynamic landscape and lead your teams to success. So, without further delay, check out the top 10 essential skills.

Top 10 sales manager skills you need

Strategic Thinking and Planning 

B2B SaaS has lengthier sales cycle these days. It takes 6-12 months for a buyer to decide on the product. So, naturally, strategic thinking and planning become an important and fundamental skill for any sales manager. 

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It involves understanding the bigger picture and aligning sales strategies with organizational goals. Market research and analysis help identify opportunities and challenges, enabling sales managers to develop effective plans and strategies for revenue generation.

Suggested Read: Top 15 Tips to Approach Strategic Sales Planning for Your B2B SaaS Company

Strong Leadership  

A sales manager becomes a sales leader when s/he-

  • Inspires and motivates sales teams to achieve targets, 
  • Sets clear goals and expectations,
  • Provides coaching to all that contributes to improved performance, and 
  • Fosters a positive and collaborative team culture.

Great leaders empower their teams and create an environment that promotes growth and collaboration. Your sales team’s performance shows how good a leader you are. 

Check out the Top 15 Effective Sales Coaching Techniques That Work to understand in detail the top effective coaching techniques you must try. 

Data-Driven Decision Making 

As a sales manager, you must harness the power of data analytics and sales intelligence tools to make informed decisions. By tracking and measuring key sales metrics, you can identify areas for improvement and optimize their strategies accordingly.

Data is essential because- 

  • Numbers don’t lie
  • They’re time-saving
  • Gives actionable insights
  • Helps in identifying areas where your sales team may need additional training.

Data-driven decision-making allows sales managers to identify trends, spot opportunities, and adjust to drive revenue growth. By leveraging data, sales managers can make strategic decisions that align with customer needs and market demands, ultimately leading to improved sales performance and business success.

Adaptability and Agility  

The B2B SaaS industry is characterized by rapid change and evolving technologies. Sales managers need to embrace adaptability and agility, adjusting their strategies to meet shifting market demands. Being open to experimentation and learning from failures is crucial for staying ahead in the competitive landscape.

Being open to experimentation and embracing a growth mindset is crucial for staying ahead of the competition. Sales managers should encourage their teams to innovate, explore new approaches, and learn from failures. By fostering a culture of adaptability and agility, sales managers can drive innovation within their teams, navigate challenges with resilience, and seize emerging opportunities.

“Adaptable sales managers thrive in dynamic environments and drive innovation within their teams,” notes a study by Harvard Business Review.

Effective Communication 

One can’t stress enough about the role that communication plays in an organization. Effective communication skills are paramount for sales managers. They must demonstrate excellent verbal and written communication skills, build rapport with clients, and engage in active listening to understand customer needs.

Communication skills aren’t limited to verbal only. There are other skills included here like- 

  • Presentation skills
  • Conflict resolution
  • Storytelling
  • Cross-cultural communication
  • Emotional Intelligence, etc. 

They should be able to articulate their thoughts clearly, concisely, and persuasively, ensuring that their messages resonate with their audience.

Customer-Centric Approach 

Customer obsession is real. Customer-centric sales managers prioritize the customer experience, resulting in increased customer loyalty and repeat business. 

Putting the customer at the center of sales efforts is vital. Sales managers must understand customer pain points and tailor solutions to their needs. Providing exceptional customer service and support throughout the sales process helps build long-term relationships.

Sales managers who consistently go the extra mile to provide a positive and seamless customer experience foster customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Collaboration and Relationship Building 

Strong relationships built on trust and mutual understanding create a solid foundation for successful sales collaborations. 

Collaboration with cross-functional teams, such as marketing and product development, is essential for sales managers. Building and nurturing relationships with key stakeholders and partners opens doors to new opportunities and expands the company’s reach.

Moreover, building and nurturing relationships with key stakeholders and partners is key to unlocking new opportunities and expanding the company’s reach. By establishing trust, maintaining open lines of communication, and demonstrating a commitment to mutual success, sales managers can cultivate long-term relationships that drive growth and profitability.

Proficiency in Sales Technology 

Now, Automation and AI-powered tools are everywhere and every job has changed because of that. So, why shouldn’t you understand the sales tech and get ahead? 

In 2023, there’s no excuse to not stay updated on the latest sales technologies and tools. Leveraging CRM systems for efficient sales pipeline management and utilizing automation and AI to streamline processes can significantly improve productivity and sales outcomes.

Sales technology empowers sales managers to work smarter, not harder, resulting in increased efficiency and effectiveness. 

By embracing and mastering sales technology, sales managers can gain a competitive advantage and thrive in the dynamic B2B SaaS industry. 

Extra resource: Top 10 SDR Tools to Boost Your Productivity

Negotiation and Persuasion Skills 

Mastering the art of negotiation is crucial for sales managers. They must build persuasive arguments and address objections effectively to win deals and secure favorable terms. Creating win-win scenarios that benefit both the customer and the company is a skill that distinguishes successful sales managers.

Negotiation skills are essential for sales managers to navigate complex sales cycles and close deals that satisfy both parties needs. 

Continuous Learning and Self-Development

In the ever-changing B2B SaaS industry, sales managers must prioritize continuous learning and self-development. Actively seeking opportunities for professional growth, attending industry conferences, workshops, and webinars, and keeping up with industry trends are essential to stay ahead.

Continuous learning allows sales managers to stay relevant, adapt to new challenges, and bring fresh ideas to their teams. 

Final thoughts on sales manager skills

In the dynamic B2B SaaS industry of 2023, sales managers need to possess a diverse set of skills to excel in their roles. From strategic thinking and leadership to data-driven decision-making and adaptability, each skill plays a crucial role in driving business growth. Effective communication, customer-centricity, collaboration, sales technology proficiency, negotiation, and a commitment to continuous learning further enhance a sales manager’s effectiveness.

By developing and honing these essential skills, sales managers can navigate the evolving landscape, inspire their teams, and achieve exceptional results. Embracing these skills will enable sales managers to thrive in the challenging and rewarding world of B2B SaaS sales in 2023 and beyond.