Insight into a career as a sales manager

Roedie Naude started with Hilti in 2006 with a Mining Engineering background as an account manager in the Mining production portfolio. His career development steps include: new business development manager, area sales manager & divisional manager. Although the sales function was a serios departure from his previous career, leading a diverse team was not. His career highlights include securing national accounts, having the first cross border success in sub-Saharan Africa and experiencing the rest of the Hilti world during experience exchanges with global counterparts.

Roedie has over 4 years experience as a sales manager and he shares with us his insights into a career as a sales manager.

Be an enabler for your team

The main priorities of a sales manager should first and foremost be an enabler for his / her team. Develop individuals in line with their strengths and deploy them in areas where they are able to use these attributes to best create value. Further foster an environment where people are challenged and rewarded fairly. This framework will lay the performance foundation for your team and in turn help you as a leader to contribute and create value.

The greatest challenge in this role is foresight, knowing how to maneuver in the face of changes to your customer’s business, the market or team dynamics and by having the flexibility within you sales processes and skillset of your team so you can make these changes quickly.

There are many highlights in the role of a sales manager and Roedie highlights some of them here, “Both seeing a team grow, and developing oneself as an accomplished team leader, are very tangible and rewarding dimensions of sales management as it translates into measurable results.”

Sales Management can be a lifelong career

Roedie also adds that sales management can be a lifelong career, with ever changing customer needs and market dynamics the sales process and people development activities never gets boring and you always have a new dimension that challenges you and keeps things interesting.

When interviewing for sales manager positions Roedie looks for candidates that are driven and performance orientated, “…we look for entrepreneurs willing to go the extra mile, inquisitive and energetic…” Roedie also goes on to say they expect the person to have some experience in people management skills and even added knowledge of situational leadership techniques and can share experiences of practicing this will work in the candidate’s favour.

Roedie goes on to say “If I could give some advice to a newly appointed sales manager I would say find a good balance between discipline and freedom. You need to understand that each individual needs something different from you as a team leader to unlock their full potential. Then take the time to listen and get to know your team members and lastly allow for mistakes, failure is a far better teacher than success.

Passionate about people coupled with an appetite for risk and reward look no further

We asked Roedie what overall skills and experience would somebody need to excel in a sales manager position? He answered “Experience in a leadership position is preferential, knowing how to activate a team and keep them motivated is important. Relevant market knowledge with basic business acumen will go a long way to aid the cause.”

Roedie goes on to add that if somebody has been in a sales manager position for a while there are many opportunities for you. As soon as you develop a good business sense and start mastering the leadership dimension, the context becomes less important. You are able to transition any team, markets and business models with relative ease making you a versatile asset to any business.

Roedie concludes by saying, “If you are passionate about people, have leadership skills and an appetite for risk and reward, sales management should be on your shortlist of career options. Being measured frequently simply means you have more opportunities to be successful.”

If you enjoyed this article then read our article about how to motivate a sales team by Gary Bester.