If you have someone on your team who’s put forth the effort to master sales management, buckle up: your sales figures are likely to skyrocket soon.

If you don’t, no worries. We’ll help you identify the must-have qualities in a leading sales manager. But before we do, it’s important we point out that sales management is a much larger responsibility than many people think. And given the charismatic nature of many sales professionals, how can you know whether you’re hiring an all-star or just another guy or gal with a winning smile?

Talking the Talk

One of the first things you should look for is someone who has a strong understanding of just what sales management entails. Your potential sales manager should be able to talk about the following topics with some degree of competency:

  • Sales rep targeting: One big duty of the sales manager is to set targets for sales reps and create plans to help them achieve their goals
  • Team building: Your sales team needs to work as a unit, not as a bunch of competitors; the best sales managers know how to make this happen
  • Company linchpin: The sales manager is the go-to guy or gal to bridge the department divide and ensure that you’re signing and keeping the right customers.
  • Strategy planning: Because the sales manager is in charge of your sales team, it goes without saying that they need to know how to create and implement effective sales strategies

If a potential sales manager balks when questioned about these items, there’s a decent chance they don’t have the experience and expertise you need for your sales team.

Confidence and Courage

Sales management is not the place to second-guess yourself or to be afraid of new risks and challenges. A great sales manager should appear fearless, even when faced with setbacks and challenging situations. They should be confident without seeming arrogant, and they should know how to inspire the same sort of confidence in the sales reps they manage.

A Master of Motivation

If you want to get the best results out of your sales team, they need to be motivated. The sales manager you hire should know how to motivate your sales team in healthy, productive ways.

While you’ll see some sales managers who come in and try to motivate higher sales figures through intimidation and cutthroat competition, the best sales managers are the ones who encourage greater performance while instilling a sense of pride and accomplishment. Friendly competition and sales incentives are fine, but you definitely don’t want your sales team hurting each others’ progress.

Fair and Personal Leadership

A great sales manager gets to know their team, and that personal relationship helps them lead from a position of strength. Conflicts will obviously arise, but because the management took the time to develop a personal relationship with everyone involved, the conflicts can be handled in a fair and impartial manner. If a potential sales manager is “all business” and doesn’t believe in forming a close bond with the sales team, there’s a good chance that this isn’t your best candidate.

A Powerful Recruiter

The sales team is your sales manager’s responsibility, and your team is only as strong as its members. If you’ve got a great manager, though, they’ll have the recruiting chops to help you find the strongest candidates to add to your team. This is one of the strengths of an all-star sales manager: they attract the best talent and know how to seal the deal to get that talent on board.

Great Communication

Communication is a cornerstone of just about everything a sales manager does, from customer interactions to inspiring your sales team and delivering reports to upper management. A sales manager who can’t communicate effectively isn’t one you want in your company. Take the time to find someone who is well spoken, who writes well and who never leaves you with a feeling of confusion or unease. That’s the sales manager you want on your side.

Of course, there are a number of other traits that can be found in great sales managers. The thing is, if you find someone who has most or all of the characteristics mentioned here, then they’ll likely have a number of other positive traits as well. While this isn’t an all-inclusive list of what your next sales manager should be like, it will point you in the right direction to help you make the best decision for your company.