What is a Sales Manager?

Sales managers lead teams and organize units of sales people in order to achieve sales targets. They often coach and motivate subordinates while modeling exemplary sales techniques and customer relationship tactics, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Below showcases the typical duties, areas of focus and core competencies for sales managers.

Primary Areas

Sales managers deal with different types of leads, which is a person or company who may be interested in the products or services. Traditional leads are garnered through networking, cold calling and in-store contact. Digital leads are gathered through SEO optimized web pages and search engine results that ideally result in online conversions. Some sales managers exclusively represent their company and handle just a few major client accounts. Others access and contribute to client account information, such as product servicing and customer service interactions. Sales managers who work in the field must maintain a long list of past, current and potential contacts. Most use LinkedIn, mobile apps and software solutions to manage all their contact information.

Sales Manager – Retail

A retail sales manager will oversee the daily operations of their store. They will ensure that sales goals are met, policies are followed and excellent customer service is delivered. They directly supervise retail staff, so they are involved in hiring, training, scheduling and evaluating employees. Their primary task is to supervise staff and operations to ensure that all incoming customers are greeted and helped. They also ensure that their needs are met and their problems are resolved. These sales managers will provide guidance to staff during customer disputes related to thinks like poor quality and pricing errors. They are expected to master different types of retail equipment, such as multi-line telephones, paging systems and inventory scanners.

Sales Manager – Catering

Sales managers also work in hospitality companies and may oversee catering and event planning. For example, a sales manager in a hotel would solicit, negotiate and schedule business through sales calls, direct mail and networking. These sales managers must thoroughly understand the hospitality and food and beverage professions. Many work for high end hotels that host large events with thousands of attendees. Those who focus on event planning will negotiate with corporations to host group related activities, such as seminars, conferences and annual events. These sales managers will need impeccable interpersonal, customer service and account management skills.

Core Competencies

Regardless of the industry, all sales managers need strong analytical abilities because they must analyze problems to understand root causes and draw conclusions that fit the facts. Their decision making skills must be solid because their choices will directly impact customers. Thus, their communication skills need to be excellent so they can understand people, meet needs and avoid mistakes. Being driven and able to attain goals is essential because the world of sales involves pressure, deadlines and intense competition. A knack for organization will help sales managers plan, control and finish activities. Being able to inspire others to collaborate and motivate themselves are also important.

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A sales manager is an expert in human relations who uses their knowledge of products or services to meet needs and exceed expectations.