The sales manager or sales director
The sales manager is the person responsible for leading and guiding a team of salespeople. A sales manager's tasks often include assigning sales territories, setting quotas, mentoring the members of her sales team, assigning sales training, building a sales plan, and hiring and firing salespeople. The sales manager is the person responsible for leading and guiding a team of salespeople.
A sales manager's tasks often include assigning sales territories, setting quotas, mentoring the members of her sales team, assigning sales training, building a sales plan, and hiring and firing salespeople. In large companies, sales quotas and plans are typically established at the executive level and a manager's main responsibility is to see to it that her salespeople meet those quotas.
Some sales managers were managers from other departments who transferred to sales, but the majority are top-tier salespeople who were promoted to a management position. Because these former salespeople have little or no management training or experience, their main challenge is allowing their sales team to do the selling and offering whatever guidance the team members need.
Because a sales manager's compensation is tied to how many sales her team makes, she's highly motivated to get her salespeople producing. This often leads to a scenario where she micro manages her sales team, hanging over their shoulders and constantly asking for updates. It's especially common with former star salespeople, who tend to want to feel in control of every situation – particularly where their own salary is involved.
Unfortunately, salespeople don't work well in this kind of environment, and their performance will suffer, leading to a vicious cycle where the sales manager becomes more and more frantic as her team fails to meet their quota. So sales management is a balancing act between providing guidance and direction without taking this to extremes.
Sales managers who are responsible for hiring and firing members of their sales team must learn some human resources skills. If a sales manager doesn't know how to critically review a resume, ask probing questions in the interview, or catch any red flags during the process, she will probably end up hiring salespeople who look good on paper but fail to produce.
Firing an employee is never easy, but a sales manager must know when one of her salespeople simply isn't working out – either because he isn't a good fit for the company, or because he isn't a good fit for a sales position at all.
Knowing how to get his/her team motivated is a critical part of sales management. A smart sales manager has several tools in her arsenal, ranging from silly prizes like paper crowns to major monetary rewards for big producers. He/She must also know how to motivate a poor producer into getting back on track. And she must recognize when the problem is not a lack of motivation but something more basic, such as the lack of a specific sales skill.
Sales managers must also understand the 'big picture.' In all but the smallest companies, sales managers are usually at the middle management level of responsibility. They supervise a sales team, but are supervised themselves by a higher-level manager, often at the executive level. When a sales manager's team performs well, her supervisor will often give her the credit. But if a sales manager's team fails to meet their quota, that executive will expect her to provide a solution.
A sales manager must have excellent communication skills to succeed. He/She must be able to understand the sales plan and explain it clearly to her sales teams. He/She must also be able to understand her salespeople's needs and communicate those needs to the executive level. If a problem such as an unrealistic quota arises, she must be able to go to bat for her salespeople with upper management and get the situation resolved. When her salespeople do well she must show them that their hard work is appreciated, and when they falter she must uncover the reason and fix it.
The field sales manager
The Field Sales Manager (FSM) is accountable for the profitable achievement of sales objectives associated with the assigned market, segment, and sales team managed. The FSM is responsible for their assigned team’s sales productivity, and directs their effort in order to have the greatest overall impact on company results.
The FSM manages all aspects of running an efficient sales team, including hiring, supervising, coaching, disciplining, and motivating direct-report sales associates.
The field sales manager:
The effective field sales manager will work to accomplish his or her goals and maximize sales team performance by:
The key account manager
Key account management includes sales but also includes planning and managing the full relationship between a business and its most important customers. Management of the company’s business and relations with major customers will normally be the responsibility of a key account manager who:
The territory manager (or salesperson)
A territory manager is responsible for improving revenue and developing sales methods for a geographical area. The territory can be as specific as a city or as broad as a group of states.
Territory managers are responsible for monitoring and managing a sales force and properly assigning those sales representatives to areas throughout their territory. By constraining salespeople to work within territories, they must work with less profitable customers or prospective businesses, as well as the sales accounts that are most desirable.
This ensures that personal attention can be paid to these customers and thus, increase the chance of sales. Also, assigning a single salesperson to a customer ensures that there is no overlap in coverage. Territory managers are often allotted a budget to negotiate special deals and organize promotions with businesses in their territory to increase sales and strengthen relationships with customers.
In a retail setting, the territory manager oversees all aspects of his territory such as ensuring that sales are rising and that general service and customer service is improving. This includes overseeing product deliveries, receiving inventory and requisitioning and overseeing equipment maintenance.
This role is primarily a function in consumer product companies, where goods are offered for resale through a network of retailers or trade distributors, and where there is considerable competition for display space and display impact on consumers who face a mass of similar competing products. Typically the merchandiser, whether directly employed by the supplier or engaged through a contract merchandising company, will work to:
When a supplier is running certain types of promotional activity with trade dealers or retail customers it is sometimes appropriate for them to place product promoters at the customer’s locations to communicate product features and benefits directly to customers.
These promoters can fulfill a useful role, if suitable persons are selected and trained, by:
Here we have only reviewed some of the typical field selling job functions within a selling organization. These will be supported by a range of specialist functions or departments to ensure that they can perform optimally, possibly including order processing, telesales, customer service, sales training, sales planning, sales promotions, with additional clerical support. There is no definitively correct sales organization, as it must be designed to reflect the needs of the company, the trade channels, the products, and final users/consumers.
Sales Management Related Tutorials
|Marketing Management Tutorial|
Sales Management Tutorial
Roles And Functions In The Sales Force
Sales Structures And Organization
Motivational Management In The Sales Force
Sales Management By Objectives
Motivating Through Rewards And Incentives
Providing Appraisals And Feedback For Motivation, Training And Discipline
Communication In The Sales Force
Sales Meetings And Conferences
Recruitment And Selection In The Sales Force
Basic Sales Training
Field Sales Training
The Planning Process
Sales Force Administration
Sales Management Control
Merchandising At The Point Of Sale
Key Account Management
Alternative Sales Or Distribution Operations
Developing International Markets
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