In today’s economic climate, an area sales manager is often tasked with delivering a huge number of resources. This is challenging, to say the least.
The area sales manager is required to generate more leads and to shift more units with a smaller team and smaller budgets. In addition, new cultures in sales create further obstacles. For example, rapidly developing technology, changing ROI methodologies, and the seemingly unlimited potential leads the Internet provides can overwhelm even the most experienced salespeople – especially in the face of reduced resources.
Furthermore, today’s nebulous system of lead generation requires leadership that can work with data. Alongside a thorough understanding of what motivates customers and how to meet their needs, sales managers should turn to data to streamline their approach. In addition, sales managers need to be able to apply their analytical skills to a number of scenarios to drive productivity and sales. Now, the key to sales success is driven by the ability to translate analysis into strategy.
However, there is a wealth of resources sales managers can extract from their most important tool – their team. Through effective leadership and coaching, managers and their teams can cultivate a winning sales strategy. By mastering prospecting, qualifying, and pitching, whilst driving customer retention and forecasting future sales, sales managers can meet the obstacles today’s business climate presents. Here, we describe three key challenges an area sales manager will face that are often overlooked.
1. Transitioning to leadership
The fact that promotion is as much of a challenge as it is a reward is often neglected by many experts. In the ambitious environments, most sales reps assume they can walk into management roles. However, they often underestimate the difference between the two positions. Although certainly related, the emphasis for an area sales manager is, of course, in management. So whilst a sales rep may be a talented pitcher, they may be less proficient in leadership skills. Therefore, moving up the hierarchy of a sales team requires substantial professional development. This should be given time and attention, supplemented by a tenacious attitude.
2. Handling pressure
All leadership roles are stressful. Longer hours, additional responsibility, and reliance on the performance of the wider team add extra pressure. On top of motivating the sales team, an area sales manager also has to report to the key stakeholders, including C-levels, partners, and investors. There’s no easy answer on how to manage stress – but, perhaps, a useful mantra is to remember that challenges and failures are just as formative as successes.
3. Recruitment and coaching
Effective area sales manager will ensure they surround themselves with the right people. From hiring promising candidates to training development, leadership are often only as good as their team. However, staff training is a complex undertaking; not every coaching technique will suit every employee. Therefore, the sales manager needs to establish how to motivate their reps individually. From learning more about their unique sales approach to understanding the personal challenges they face, developing bespoke coaching programs is an important skill.
Succeeding as an area sales manager
In summary, leadership style is as crucial to success as an area sales manager. Being able to stay composed under pressure, meet tight deadlines, and motivate the team are crucial elements to hitting targets. Although sales management is challenging – especially if a manager is new to the role – obstacles can be overcome with strong leadership. By inspiring a team and supporting its performance, sales managers can overcome these daily challenges and hone their own skills as a salesperson.