Being a manager -- especially a sales manager -- is tough job, but someone’s got to do it. If that someone is you, you’re in the right place. We’ve asked nine top sales experts some of the most difficult management questions we could think of, and they’ve come through with solid answers and advice. Reading and following through on their tips will help make you more successful in your role, and in turn, boost your sales team.

Here’s just a sampling of the sales experts’ words of wisdom:

How do you become a great sales manager?

JIm Kennan“Learn to listen. The role of sales managers has changed. It’s no longer about being a taskmaster; it’s about enablement and support. Hierarchical, prescriptive management is dead, don’t try to control everything. Communicate a vision instead; let people try to figure out how they are going to get there on their own. Have empathy; remember what it was like when you sold. Use that empathy to see things through your team’s eyes.“ - Jim Keenan, Founder & Partner of A Sales Guy Consulting



Dan Waldschmidt“GET HELP! And get it fast. Your life is in serious jeopardy. OK, not literally. But it’s going to get a lot more stressful. Management is about leadership – which is quite a bit different than your past job where you could do just about whatever you needed to do in order to close the deal. Get help. Ask for coaching. Find a mentor. Read books on leadership. Stay humble. Be courageous.“ - Dan Waldschmidt, Managing Partner at Waldschmidt Partners


What are early signs a prospect is a good fit?

Mark Hunter"A prospect is a good fit if they have provided you with two-to-three of their critical needs and have shared with you the timeline as to when they will make a decision. Prospects will only share this level of information with you when they have confidence in you. The prospect who has confidence in you, the salesperson, is the one with whom you want to do business.“ - Mark Hunter, Speaker & Author




Joanne Black_300dpi“Often forgotten is the kind of people with whom you want to work. Are they forward-thinking, open to suggestions, collaborative, and engaging? Are they honest and do they have a sense of humor? If you have a bias for action, do they? Without attributes that match your ideal client profile, you probably have what I call a PITA (‘Pain In The A**’) on your hands. PITAs drag you down and lower everyone’s morale. Taking on PITA clients can cost you big, not only because they’ll nickel and dime you until you make very little money, but the time they take up will cost you opportunities to do business with ideal clients. You know who the PITAs are, so fire them before you even start.“ - Joanne Black, Founder of No More Cold Calling 


Quotas aside, what’s the #1 way to measure sales success?

Anthony Iannarino Headshot“I know a guy. He inherited a last-place sales team in a last place territory. For the first year he spent all this time coaching and developing his sales team, riding along with them on sales calls to understand their territory and clients, and building a process that allowed him to start winning business. At the end of the year he missed his quota. But in every month after that first year, he has blown out his quota, producing record numbers. These aren’t just record numbers for the territory. They aren’t just record numbers for his individual reps either. They are record numbers for the company.

Was it worth missing the number in year one? If you could trade one year’s quota attainment for record- setting numbers for years to follow, would it be a good trade? We are too fast to judge success by short-term goals and too slow to work towards building the salespeople, the sales processes, and the sales culture that enables long-term sustained growth. Like anything else, measuring one number, and excluding dozens of other factors that are also worth considering, doesn’t tell the whole story.“ - Anthony Iannarino, Author, Speaker, & Entrepreneur

Read much more of this stellar advice by downloading the free ebook, Sales Experts Answer Your Toughest Sales Management Questions.