Saturday, August 23, 2014

What Does a Sales Manager Do?

Are you considering the leap from client facing sales to the role of sales manager? Have you wondered what it is that the sales manager does? Let's look at the top 10 activities that the sales manager performs on a regular basis.1. Managing Targets/Quota: Every sales manager will have a target that is the total of all sales people that are reporting to him/her. In a situation where there are agents or partners involved, the sales manager will also carry this target. The sales manager must look at all potential means to close this target as management will be looking to him/her to find a way to close any and all 'gaps' between projections and targets.2. Working on Strategy with your Team: Often this element is forgotten in the rush to provide numbers on a continual basis for your management. However it is one of the most important things you will do to develop the skills of your team. Through their interactions with you and exploring the opportunities at hand you have the opportunity to truly provide value to your salespeople.3. Reporting: Unfortunately the role of the sales manager also contains quite a bit of reporting. The sales manager may be asked to report on funnel activity, forecasts (30, 60, 90 days), current month commitments, and specific products sold. They may also be asked to participate in marketing initiatives designed to improve the sales function.4. Managing the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software: Hand in hand with reporting goes managing the CRM (and more specifically the use of the CRM by the sales team). If the CRM is to be effective, your sales people need to use the CRM on a regular basis - capturing all the information they can about the customer and the communication with the customer. Not only is this critical in situations where a new person takes over an account, but it is also essential so that senior management can truly gauge the relationship with prospects and customers.5. Client Visits: While this is probably one of the most exciting thing for a sales manager to participate in, often it is the first to suffer given the pressures from all of the other items. During client visits the role of the sales manager is one of support (supporting the sales person), gathering information for coaching (whether in the moment coaching or scheduled coaching later) and observation. It also important for the customer/prospect to feel that they are connected to your organization by more than just the sales person. This adds credibility and strength to your sales person's offer to the client.

6. One on One Meetings: On a regular basis the manager will want/need to have one on one meetings with the salesperson. These meetings should focus on the mechanics of the position - what opportunities are hot, how can you help, where do you need to engage others in the organization. What these meetings are not is coaching meetings.7. Coaching Meetings: On a regular basis (no less than once a month), you need to meet with your people to provide coaching advice. The goal here is not only to provide feedback on a regular basis but also to give the employee the opportunity to implement feedback and improve on their results. If you do not have a coaching methodology, please feel free to look at my article coaching using the GROW methodology. I find that this approach works very well.8. Communicate: Your role is also to communicate both up into your organization as well as to your team members.9. Maintaining Morale: You must be prepared to support the organization and the direction it has been going. This means putting on a smile and being positive even when you may guess that things are going in another direction. With that said, you need to be transparent with your team when you can be.10. Team Meetings: Conducting these meetings in a clear, concise and transparent way will enable your team members to feel as part of the larger 'machine'. They will not only feel better about themselves and their colleagues, but also about your leadership and where you are taking the Team.Are there more items than those detailed above? Of course there are! One thing certain about being a Sales Manager and the role you perform is that change and chaos is inevitable. Your challenge is to be open, welcome these, and transform them for your Team.

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