12 Important Sales Manager Skills to Include on Your Resume
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A sales manager leads the sales department of a company. These professionals provide important functions vital for meeting customer expectations and achieving company revenue targets. If you're interested in a sales manager's role, it's important to know the skills that can help you deliver your responsibilities effectively. In this article, we define what sales manager skills are and outline several examples you can include on your resume to impress hiring managers and show you're a good fit for their role.
What are sales manager skills?
Sales manager skills are competencies these professionals require to perform their duties effectively. A sales manager is a senior role in an organisation that's responsible for planning sales strategies, staff recruitment and training and performance assessments. The role requires several soft and hard skills. Soft skills are those competencies you can transfer from one job to another. For example, active listening, written and verbal communication and organisational and leadership skills are vital for collaborating and leading a sales team efficiently.
The position also requires technical skills, such as knowledge of CRM software, social selling, strategic planning and coaching. Having these skills can ensure that a sales manager is able to provide quality leadership and professional expertise that can help the sales team understand their work duties, receive resources to deliver results and help the organisation meet its revenue objectives. Highlighting and demonstrating these competencies in your resume and at the interview can also help convince hiring managers you can excel in their role.
12 important skills for sales managers
Here's a list of 12 vital skills that can help sales managers complete their responsibilities more effectively:
Communication is one of the most important skills for any successful sales manager. Sales managers lead a team of sales representatives and other employees in their department. Strong written and verbal communication skills allow the manager to provide clear instructions for their staff. The clarity of purpose this provides allows each person to know what their specific duties and responsibilities are and the steps required to fulfil them.
Sales managers also interface with other department heads, especially people in marketing, product development, finance and human resources. Effective collaboration with these other units requires being able to correspond professionally. The role may also involve interacting with customers, management and external parties, and this requires active listening, knowledge of nonverbal cues and exceptional speaking and writing abilities.
The best sales managers have excellent leadership qualities. They know how to create goals and motivate their teams to achieve sales objectives. These professionals not only encourage their teams to excel, but they also provide an enabling environment and the resources required to meet sales targets. Sales managers also train, mentor and upgrade their staff to make them up-to-date with the latest technologies for understanding customer intent, increasing engagement and closing deals.
3. Sales planning
As a sales manager, it's important to understand the principles of sales planning. Planning sales strategies involve several activities, including identifying markets, creating personas of the ideal customer, performing marketing and customer research and understanding the customer's pain points and buying journey. It also requires training staff, setting sales goals and creating sales pitches, scripts and templates. A successful sales plan involves collaborating with other units, such as marketing and product development. It also requires identifying key performance indicators (KPIs) and measuring those KPIs consistently to evaluate results and improve strategies for better outcomes.
4. Performance management
It's essential for sales managers to be adept at performance management. This function involves managing the sales team and providing them with support so they can achieve their performance objectives. It involves training, coaching, mentorship and regular evaluations. Performance management also requires being able to assess individuals to identify their strengths and weaknesses and delegate tasks based on their competencies. As a sales manager, being able to pair your team with tasks where they excel, provide constructive feedback and take responsibility when results are below expectations can improve group cohesion and enhance their commitment to organisational goals and objectives.
Delegation is a vital skill to have as a sales manager. Effective delegation requires knowing where your team members excel and pairing them with such tasks. It also involves challenging your team to take the initiative and become more creative in solving problems they encounter in their daily duties. Delegating not only allows you to focus on more important activities, it can build your team's confidence and skills and enhance their abilities to complete high-level tasks with minimal or zero supervision.
As a sales manager, it's essential to have excellent organisational skills. This role involves a lot of strategic decision-making, administrative functions and collaboration with a wide range of individuals within and outside the company. To be able to complete your tasks effectively, it's important to plan your work schedule, prioritise important tasks and delegate responsibilities. You also require good time management skills, knowledge of project management and the ability to solve problems.
7. Numeracy skills
Sales management requires being comfortable working with numbers. Sales managers not only set quotas for their teams, but they also assess performance and track multiple parameters to gauge the success of their strategies. The sales manager often prepares financial reports and uses the data from such documents for planning and decision making. Having a high level of mathematical aptitude can improve your ability to make data-backed decisions, measure performance and correct assumptions about your sales strategies and their implementation.
8. CRM software
Customer relationship management software helps managers understand their buyers' journey from prospecting to purchasing an item. Even though CRM is the purview of the customer relations manager, the tool is an important source of data for defining, executing and tracking the performance of sales strategies. The CRM software can help identify recurrent problems customers want to solve with a company's products or services. It can also provide insights into the specific features and functions customers want and the ideal price point that can make them loyal patrons of a business.
The insights from the CRM software can help the sales manager develop better performing sales plans that engage customers and prospects on their preferred platforms and in their favourite language, leading to more conversions and higher revenues.
9. Human resources skills
The best sales managers have a deep knowledge of human resources. As the head of the sales department, these professionals play an active role in the recruitment and training of the sales staff. They collaborate with the HR department to outline specific requirements for sales staff. Sales managers also organise training for onboarding new staff and provide regular refreshers to keep their team updated with the latest trends and technologies in the sales industry. Experienced sales managers also know how to teach and mentor their staff, providing them with expert knowledge and insights to achieve peak performance.
10. Computer literacy
As a sales manager, it's essential to be proficient in digital technologies. Many of the tools for creating and implementing sales plans are based on general and industry-specific computer applications. Spreadsheet and word processing programs are basic requirements for this role and it's also vital to know how to use software for creating slides for presentations. Whether you're training staff, tracking sales figures, calculating your team's commissions or briefing senior management and shareholders, being comfortable with technology can make your work easier as a sales manager.
A sales manager is a problem solver. If you're applying for this role, chances are that the employer is looking for a candidate who can help them achieve higher sales figures. Achieving this goal requires solving several challenges, including identifying lapses in the current sales strategies, understanding why the competition is succeeding and gaining insights into the factors driving customers' buying behaviour.
The problem may also result from a poorly remunerated or unmotivated staff and products or services that don't meet market expectations anymore. To be effective in this role, it's important to know how to identify problems, assess them logically and create and execute strategies to improve results.
12. Sales knowledge
Sales managers have a deep understanding of the selling process. As a sales manager, it's vital for you to have an in-depth knowledge of concepts such as prospecting, persuasion, negotiation and closing. Being able to qualify promising leads can lead to higher conversions and help target sales resources on prospects most likely to convert. Knowledge of persuasion and negotiation can help reduce and eliminate prospects' unwillingness to buy by showing them the unique value proposition of your offer and what they're going to miss by not purchasing.
The best sales managers make closing effortless and non-promotional so that even the most hostile prospect becomes convinced the salesperson is genuinely interested in helping solve their problems at the best price point.
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