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      Responsibilities of a Sales Manager: An Ultimate Guide

      Sales Managers are broadly in charge of planning, directing, managing, controlling, and executing all matters relating to sales and marketing functions in their organization. But what does this mean? 

      Simply, as a sales manager, you are in charge of staffing and directing a sales team and providing leadership toward achieving maximum profitability and growth in line with the company’s vision and values. To truly understand these responsibilities, one must start from the standpoint that sales managers are people, customer, and business managers all at once, particularly since the selling operations of businesses no longer exist in isolation. 

      This underpins why these first-line managers are essential in today’s business environment. While they were historically only responsible for the sales productivity of their assigned personnel, sales managers are nowadays also involved in decision-making for broader aspects of the business. Particularly for the society-oriented insights, they can give on welfare, market activity and human resources. 

      What Makes a Top Sales Manager?

      The litmus test with understanding what makes a sales manager valuable is often presented as a question of, “Between having a team of excellent salespeople with an average manager, or a team of middling salespeople with an excellent manager, which would you choose?”

      While both sides have equally defensible arguments, the consensus generally accepts that companies with winning sales forces start with exceptional managers. A team of first-rate salespeople will win sales and make yearly goals, with or without an excellent manager. The problem is that an average manager will bring all the salespeople he manages down to his level, and any initial success may not translate to the long term. Conversely, an excellent manager will consistently spur and manage excellence in all her sales teams at any given period. 

      This explains why successful sales managers’ characteristics, skills, and aptitudes are typically different from successful salespersons. The Sales Manager position is exceptionally dynamic and requires an individual who is goal-oriented and committed to the company’s products and services. Given certain exceptions, sales environments tend to be fast-paced, high-pressure, and money-driven. This is especially true for sales managers. Therefore, professionals in this role must be highly resilient and ready to thrive under a large amount of pressure.

      Where Does the Sales Manager Fit in the organization?

      A sales manager’s role can vary depending on the size and scope of the company – and the product or service it sells – but generally, sales managers are the professionals setting sales goals and quotas and pushing their team to hit them. In more prominent organizations, these managers typically report to a Sales Director or Head of Sales, while in smaller companies, they may report directly to the CEO or Managing Director.

      As leaders, sales managers are critical contributors to their company’s goal of hitting sales targets and generating profit. In other words, they are generally responsible for:

      • Hiring and firing sales personnel
      • Identifying where training is needed and providing it
      • Mentoring sales reps
      • Assigning sales territories

      Their role includes creating sales plans and analyzing data to make informed decisions. In addition, they will regularly report back to directors or another senior position on progress – and may even have a hand in steering the future of the business.

      A sales manager achieves these objectives through a mix of approaches, including; 

      • Motivating and advising their reps to improve their performance and hiring and training new sales representatives.
      • Effective and data-backed planning towards the continued growth and success of the division by setting sales goals, analyzing data on past performance, and projecting future performance.
      • Ensuring that the sales department works cross-functionally with executives from other departments. Particularly as it relates to collaborating with marketing to generate new lead sources and expand the target customer base or with product and research teams to meet customer needs.
      • Assisting in formulating, developing and implementing sales/marketing strategies, including new product development, service expansion, etc., in cooperation with the corporate management team.
      • Providing leadership and training for all sales personnel and assisting them in establishing goals, objectives, and sales plans and targets.
      • Developing with the management team the division’s annual sales forecast by division.

      How does the Sales Manager fit in the organization?

      A sales manager’s role can vary depending on the size and type of the organization – and the product or service it sells – but generally, sales managers are the professionals setting sales goals and quotas and pushing their team to hit them. In more prominent organizations, these managers typically report to a Sales Director or Head of Sales, while in smaller companies, they may report directly to the CEO, the VP of Sales, or Managing Director.

      Hierarchically, the Sales Manager typically directs the support of sales specialists, implementation resources, service resources, and other sales and management resources as needed, coordinating with the appropriate management-level resources. Sales Managers also coordinate company executive involvement with customer management, working closely with Customer Service and Field Marketing to ensure customer satisfaction and high levels of field sales support.

      Required Skills for Sales Managers

      Given the diversity of sales manager job descriptions, people who aspire to this job will need various skills. Here are the essential skills that sales managers need to have:

      • General sales skills
      • Recruitment skills
      • People skills
      • Training and mentoring skills
      • Communication skills
      • Forecasting skills
      • Financial reporting skills
      • Public-speaking skills
      • Leadership skills
      • Technology skills
      • Organizational skills

      While sales qualifications no doubt help, most of these skills will need to have been earned on the job. Furthermore, as the sales manager role is a senior position in the hierarchy of a sales team, employers will value experience in creating and implementing sales plans, as well as a proven record of accomplishment of performing well in a sales role.

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      At Cowen Partners, our executive recruiters are exceptionally skilled at delivering in-demand candidates, no matter the need and across all industries. Backed by a proven executive recruiting process, we have been the partner of choice for startups, corporations, small businesses, non-profits, and more, meeting unique and critical recruitment needs across the entire C-suite, including CEOs, CFOs, COOs, CMOs, CIOs, CTOs, CHROs, VPs, directors, and several other leadership roles. 

      With our executive recruiters, you get senior partner-led searches, due diligence-run networking, meticulous candidate vetting, and so much more, all geared towards one goal — placing the very best talent as soon as possible, all while ensuring a seamless fit with your company culture, your big-picture objectives, and other factors. Plus, we have one of the highest candidate retention rates in the industry while consistently delivering world-class talent faster than the competition. 

      That’s how Cowen Partners has become a leading executive search firm nationwide, and it’s why our executive recruiters have a reputation for excellence and success.

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