How to Become a Sales Manager

October 15, 2019

I’ve had the honor and pleasure of coaching many sales reps up the leadership ladder. This week, I asked one of those people to tell you his advice on the first steps toward management. Ryan Heaphy is a Senior Sales Manager at Qualia and I have had the joy of watching him grow from entry level sales rep at one company to Sales Manager and Senior Sales Manager at another. Here’s his advice on how to become a sales manager:

1. Hit quota consistently

Consider it an automatic deal-breaker if you don’t meet this criterion. Being consistent with making your quota is critical if you want to be made responsible for coaching others and bringing in predictable revenue. Leave no doubt that you can actually sell, and you’ll have the respect of your peers when you’re their leader.

2. Master your company’s sales process and sales operations

We all know those reps who do things their own way, and they kill it. While that’s great for revenue, it doesn’t help the team in leadership if it’s not repeatable or if it contradicts the process in place. You must be able to coach to your organization’s sales process in order to scale and ramps reps reliably. Live by the fundamentals.

3. Become a sophisticated pipeline manager

One of the primary responsibilities you’ll have as a sales manager is holding pipeline reviews with your team. You’ll need to weigh pipeline revenue against quotas, identify good vs garbage opportunities, and accurately report your team’s forecast up the chain. If you don’t do this well as a rep, you will not be effective doing it for a whole team.

4. Just Lead

This is the most important point on my list. Most people feel like they need to be granted power or given a title to be a leader. When I first approached my SVP of Sales [Scott Leese] and asked, “How can I become a leader on this team?” the response was exactly that. “Just lead.”

Lead by example. Outwork everyone. Challenge your teammates. Make bets to keep things fun and competitive. Stand up and pitch louder if the sales floor goes quiet. Check your teammates who are slacking off. People who just lead will always have the respect the people they manage, which makes for much more effective and driven teams.

Thanks, Ryan! Be sure to connect with Ryan as he has a lot of wisdom to share.

If you want to learn more and get in depth training on each of these steps and more, join us in Austin on November 6th for Selling in the 21st Century or in Costa Rica in February for Surf and Sales 4.