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These Five Leadership Qualities will Make you a Better Sales Manager

3 min readAugust 19, 2016

What qualities make sales leaders successful? There are several different ways to successfully lead a sales team. Some sales managers are like drill sergeants, the ultimate task masters set on transforming each sales rep into a singular, elite force. Other sales managers lead from the trenches, taking calls right along with SDRs, and taking the team out to happy hour after big wins. While management styles vary, there are several qualities that all sales managers should possess.

So what leadership abilities do inside sales reps expect from a sales manager?

I was recently checking out the 2020 Outlook Survey by Universum, which surveyed how over 2000 senior executives envision leadership. One of the questions asked which qualities were expected from a leader. Though the survey isn’t specific to sales leaders, many of the qualities listed line up with the qualities that the best sales managers seem to intrinsically possess.

Universum sales leadership study

Universum surveyed over 2000 business leaders to find out what the top leadership qualities are.

Are you a sales manager or aspiring sales manager? Here are five abilities that you should nurture in order to be a more successful sales coach.

Empowering Your Team

The number one leadership quality listed in Universum’s survey was the ability to empower your team. This means giving your reps everything they need to succeed, including the right training and the right tools. Sales reps, especially millennials, are always looking for tools that can make their jobs easier and improve productivity, both in their personal lives and at work. The right sales tools that can empower reps to dial more leads, automate manual tasks and have smarter sales conversations. Arm your reps with these tools and it will set them on the path to success.

Coach Constantly

Reps don’t just need training – they need coaching. Training is something that is finite (e.g. a 3-week bootcamp and then off to the races). Coaching, on the other hand, is something that must occur constantly. You should never just sit around waiting for reps to succeed or fail. If reps aren’t on the right track, help them reach their full potential!

At Revenue.io, we’ve labored long to provide sales coaches with a suite of tools that makes it easier than ever to coach reps to success. Call analytics offer a bird’s-eye-view of individual and team success metrics, while call recordings and monitoring tools let sales coaches delve deeply into sales conversations in order to discover new opportunities to help reps succeed.


Reps need to know what’s expected of them at all times. This is especially true for reps that are early in their careers. One way to promote a culture of transparency is to make sure that reps are aware of their individual metrics (e.g. dials per day, meetings booked, emails sent, talk time, etc.). It can also be helpful for reps to see how their colleagues are performing. A healthy spirit of competition can be a powerful motivating force in sales organizations.

Leading By Example

Reps respect sales leaders most when they lead by example. Do you want a team that works long hours? Then work even longer hours yourself. Do you think your reps aren’t doing a good enough job at closing deals? Get in the trenches, close a big deal yourself and show them how it’s done. You should do your best to exemplify all the qualities you want to nurture in your team.

Set Goals

It’s important for a sales team to constantly have something their working toward. Sure it can simply be hitting quota. But why stop there? Consider holding contests and offering additional rewards to reps that really hit it out of the park. When reps feel like they are working together as a team to reach a goal, you may be surprised by how much harder they’ll work to cross that finish line.

Our free eBook The 90-Day Inside Sales Plan offers advice from top sales leaders on how to transform your sales team in 90 days or less.