3 Traits of a Great Sales Manager (Revenue is not on the list)

Relying on revenue metrics can hide actual performance.

We spoke recently with an enterprise sales leader whose team had blown their numbers out of the water right through the pandemic. This team was lucky enough to have a technology solution that became instantly more valuable to their clients when COVID hit.

Meantime, even as they exceeded plans, the sales team got rusty.

After two years of taking orders from desperate customers, many reps lost their capability to sell. They could take orders but not make them. When the pandemic ended, many who made President’s Club the previous year found themselves in a deep hole.

For two years, revenue camouflaged serious competency gaps in the team.

This disconnect between revenue and competencies is often magnified by a large external shock (like a global pandemic). But even in normal times, there is often only a modest correlation between skills and revenue performance.

A poor salesperson can thrive when they land in a fertile territory full of clients ready to buy. Likewise, a great rep can struggle when assigned a barren field.

In a complex enterprise sales process that can take months or even years, revenue is a trailing indicator and has little impact on future performance. It’s a huge gut-punch to lose an RFP after two years only to realize that you had big gaps in your team all along.


Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked. – Warren Buffet

3 Traits of a Great Manager

The 3 Traits of a Great Sales Manager

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Thinks beyond the pipeline

Coaches their people, not just their deals

Builds sales ‘muscle’ within their team



Your front-line managers are the critical layer to mitigate sales risks.

Great managers focus on developing a competency profile of their team. They work within this simple framework and spend significant field time observing, not leading their reps’ calls.

Knowledge of each rep’s strengths and weaknesses leads to better decisions on where to invest precious coaching time.

Substantial benefits of performance data includes;


  • Promotions, territories and benefits flow to “those who can” – helping you retain the best talent and guide them at the biggest opportunities.
  • Managing someone out of the business is faster and easier, because you’ve built up performance data prior to making decisions.
  • Scaling performance is enabled by data to assess which front-line managers truly build muscle in their teams.

Remember – revenue is only a proxy for capabilities. 

Measuring both revenue and competency will equip you with the critical data needed to inform performance management decisions for even the largest enterprise sales teams.

If you’re looking for an integrated CRM tool that automates the sales process AND gives you real-time visibility to the coaching process in action, check this out.


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The dashboards bring all the information into one place – it’s really about accountability, you can look at it very quickly to see if you have a problem in a certain area

Kim Moller, Senior Vice President of Sales
MiMedx Group, Inc

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