Last updateWed, 01 Jul 2020 1pm

The key principles of sales management

There are a lot of things that go into the making of a great sales manager. I have compiled the 16 principles of Sales Management. For now, let’s focus on the first 8.

1) Manage your people individually: For any sales manager to be successful, they must manage their people individually and not in groups. It’s perfectly acceptable, and even encouraged to offer praise and accolades in a group setting. However, any constructive criticism, taking disciplinary action or conducting a coaching session must be done in a one on one, private setting.

2) Lead by example: “Do as I say, not as I do” might be a great saying, but it’s a terrible way to lead. As a sales manager you must follow all of your company’s policies, procedures and standards. However, the great sales manager will strive to have higher standards and stricter policies than those set forth by the company. Your staff will follow you if you are the hardest worker and are doing things the right way. It’s impossible to have success without a great team, and it’s impossible to have a great team without a great leader. Lead by example and your team will follow.

3) Instill discipline within your organization: People may complain about rules and expectations; but in reality, most people need those things. People want to know what is expected of them and they want someone to enforce the rules. It’s up to the sales manager to set up the rules and then enforce them. Here are some tips that will help you in setting up your rules.

  • Know the reasons and justifications for the rules and regulations.
  • Be able to explain the rules and regulations.
  • Enforce the rules and regulations.
  • Take all disciplinary actions necessary to maintain rules and regulations.
  • Have all rules and regulations written down. If it isn’t written down, it isn’t real.

4) The Golden Rule of Sales Management: Treat others the way you want to be treated. If you treat your sales team like children, they will act like children. On the contrary, if you treat people like adults, then you will have adults working for you. The days of managing by fear and intimidation are long over. Treat the people who work for you with respect and dignity, and they will produce for you.

5) Manage on objective information: Everything you do when it comes to your training, coaching and discipline must be based on objective measurables. It’s ok to have opinions; we all have them, but all of your decisions when it comes to your team should be based on fact, not fiction.

6) Be goal orientated: One of the primary roles for a sales manager is to set goals; both for the team, and to also assist in setting the goals for each individual salesperson. Setting goals with your team is a great way to build relationships between you and each member of your team. As you and your team consistently discuss numbers and goals, you will also maintain a goal-oriented operation. Consistently talking about the goals and tracking them will let your salespeople know how they are doing and keep them on track.

7) Get on the floor or in the field: The best sales managers are involved in everything their team does. It’s impossible to effectively manage from behind a desk. You must be involved in the process. In the store, get out on the floor and listen to the presentations of your salespeople. The only way to effectively help your team be the best they can be is to be involved, and that’s not going to happen behind a desk.

8) Be direct and to the point: The best way to get a message across is to be direct with your salespeople. It’s easy to misinterpret information if you try to beat around the bush. People want to know exactly where they stand and what is expected of them, and the best way to do that is to be direct and honest.

As you can probably tell, most of these are common sense. However, it never ceases to amaze me how many sales managers don’t do any of these things. Your sales team is the key to your success as a manager and these are some things that, if you follow them, will help you get the best out of each of your salespeople.

Next time we will take a look at the final eight principles and how they can help anyone become a great sales manager.

Author, trainer, consultant, and speaker Brad Huisken is President of IAS Training. Huisken has authored several books and training manuals on sales and  produces a Weekly Sales Training Meeting video series along with Aptitude Tests and Proficiency Exams for new hires, current sales staff and sales managers. In addition, he publishes a free weekly newsletter called “Sales Insight” For a free subscription or more information contact IAS Training at 800-248-7703 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Visit his website at www.iastraining.com.