In a previous article, we wrote about the role of sales executives. The sales executives are the driving force for a company. But the sales manager is the battle commander who can make the strategy so that the driving force actually succeeds. If it was a game of chess, then the sales manager is the player who has to ensure that he wins. Planning and execution of sales is the main job responsibility of a sales manager. And the following are the qualities which define the role of sales manager.
1) Team management
As expected from above statement, team management is one of the major role of sales managers. In a team of 8 people, all 8 people will have different capabilities and will be different in their nature. Thus, managing this team, and guiding your sales executives to work as per their strengths is the main role of sales manager. At the same time, the sales manager has to ensure that the work being done by the team is in line with the expectations of the management from the sales team.
2) Motivating team members
Sales is a tough job wherein sales executives have to face rejection over and over again. On the other hand, many several executives are not motivated unless and until they are under pressure. Thus, it is the job responsibility of a sales manager to push the team to work better and in a motivated manner. To pick up the executive who is demotivated, and to pressurise an executive who is casual is the main management role of sales managers.
3) Closing the sales pipeline
Sales executives generally use a multitude of tactics to develop the sales pipeline and to bring warm and hot customers to the company. Many a times it is the job of the sales manager to ensure that the warm and hot prospects are being converted to end customers. Just by the weight of the visiting card of the sales manager, the end customer can take his decision. On the other hand, when the sales manager gets involved, then the customer also receives immediate attention which can convince him to buy the product from the company. Thus closing the sales pipeline can be described as one of the job responsibilities of sales managers.
4) Maintaining cross team balance
A sales managers job does not end when he is managing his own team. But it is his job to maintain a balance between multiple teams when working together. This can be seen especially in banks and other knowledge driven sectors where cross department harmony is needed. Similarly in consumer durables, there should be a sync between service, logistics, marketing and other departments. It is the role of the sales manager to maintain this connect between different teams so that the work gets done smoothly for the organization. Wherever, multiple teams are not working smoothly together, it is the problem of one of the other team leader.
5) Strategic decision making
As mentioned earlier, it is the job of the sales manager to align the work of the sales team with the expectations of the management. Thus, for this there need to be several strategic decisions to be made at sales level which are made by the sales manager. For example – A sales manager can condone giving discount and yet pressurise his team to sell higher. This might be done to increase profit margins of a company. Such strategic decisions and their implementation is the job responsibility of the sales manager.
6) Business Expansion
Expansion of sales through the use of multiple sales executives and multiple segmentation strategies is the job of the sales manager. In a saturated market, the sales manager has to work with the marketing department to attract customers better. In a vast geographical market, the sales manager has to work with logistics to affect maximum distribution. Thus the expansion and increase of sales is in the hand of the sales manager.
7) Meeting the management’s expectations
Finally, and most importantly, it is the job of the sales manager to implement strategy and direct the team in the manner that he meets the expectations of the management of the company. If the expectations are improper, then it is the sales managers job to communicate the same to the company. Or if he needs any help in achieving targets / changing strategy, then it is the sales managers job to communicate the same to the management or to higher ups. In short, if the sales does not happen properly, the first person who is targeted is the sales manager.
Thus, as you can see, the sales manager is expected to have a dynamic yet understanding personality. He should understand the office environment and the company’s culture and act accordingly. At the same time, he has to have a clear understanding of the corporate objectives and he has to achieve these objectives by getting the work done in a proper manner with his sales executives. There are many factors which make a successful sales manager and all of these factors can be learnt only through experience.