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Sales managers are not always present in small businesses, so we are often asked what the Sales Manager’s Responsibilities are. Suppose you’re conducting performance reviews, updating job descriptions, or beginning a search. In that case, we’ve comprised a list of a Sales Manager’s Responsibilities we work by at Sales Manager Now when working with small business sales teams.
A sales manager’s duties will differ at each company, but the list compiled in this article should cover 80-90% of most roles. When a sales manager delivers on these responsibilities, the sales department will attract better talent. In addition, salespeople will improve, and business owners will have reporting that builds their confidence in the sales team and helps them make better decisions.
This article focuses mainly on sales management responsibilities but has also included points on the leadership practices your manager should display. We’ve practiced these responsibilities successfully in over 25 industries since 2006.
Hire and Develop Great People
McCaw Communications (dba CellularOne) were the original wireless phone giants in the ’90s. Their core value was “Hire and Develop Great People.” It’s hard to argue since no matter how good marketing or systems are, if you need salespeople to grow the business, salespeople will make the difference. The number one sales management responsibility is to be excellent at attracting and hiring great people.
Secondly, it is to develop salespeople into the best they can be. We live in a time where change is constant. What worked yesterday might not work today. Finding resources that develop your people is a constant exploration for a top-level manager so the team does not fall behind.
Lastly, just because someone exceeds their goals does not mean they are their best; there is usually room for improvement.
Meet the Assigned Sales and Margin Goals
The sales department has a responsibility to meet or exceed the top-line sales goal with the budgeted margin. When the sales department delivers, the rest of the budget works. The sales manager must keep their team focused on the goal and develop them well enough to sell at the proper pricing to realize the desired gross profit. It’s the sales manager’s responsibility to make sure both numbers are delivered.
Sales Department Expectations are Defined, Documented, and Agreed on
To meet assigned goals and develop salespeople, a sales manager must define all expectations for the department and individual salespeople. In addition, the expectations need to be documented, understood, and agreed upon by the team. Expectations and goals are not just opportunities for salespeople to earn money. It’s their responsibility to deliver on them. If they don’t understand them or commit to them, the delivery will be hit and miss. In addition to the sales and margin goal, a sales manager, at a minimum, should define the following:
- The target customers and markets
- Qualifying criteria
- The sales process
- Job Descriptions
- Messaging and response best practices
- CRM usage requirements
- Company marketing and sales strategies
Reporting Produced to Measure Key Expectations
Sales manager responsibilities also include measuring and monitoring key expectations and performance indicators. To measure and monitor, the sales manager should produce reporting so the manager, the team, and executive leaders can easily monitor progress. The sales manager is responsible for knowing what reports everyone needs and finding the internal or external resources to produce the reporting. Sales managers do not need to be experts with Exel or CRM, but they do need to define what they need to help meet goals and develop their team.
With criteria defined for qualified customers, it is the sales manager’s responsibility not to allow the team to work with unqualified leads.
Sales Manager Duties: Establish a Consistent Meeting Cadence and Lead Meetings With Purpose and Engagement
The sales manager’s responsibilities are supported and reinforced during meetings. As important as having an effective meeting is keeping the meeting cadence, schedule, and purpose. When you develop a cadence, people know what to expect. They know when meetings are (day, start, and end time), the purpose of the meeting, what’s expected of them, and how to use the meetings for their benefit. An agenda defines the topics of a meeting, but sales managers often miss the meeting purpose. At Sales Manager Now our meeting purposes are:
- Weekly team meetings: The purpose is to help the team sell more by providing team and individual accountability checks, learning from each other, and solving issues.
- Monthly one-on-one meetings: The purpose is to help the salesperson sell more through individual accountability, coaching, teaching, strategizing, and commitments.
- Impromptu meetings: The purpose is to support the needs of the one who initiated the meeting, the salesperson or the manager.
The last part of this sales manager’s responsibility is to facilitate the meeting in a way that has the entire team engaged. People participate and learn more when they experience that their voices are heard and respected. Each team’s engagement will strengthen when the meetings are kept to the cadence and are facilitated effectively. Some teams might take a few months to start hitting their stride, but they will when the sales manager delivers on their responsibility.
Create and Maintain an Accountable Sales Environment (culture)
It is the sales manager’s duty to create an environment that reinforces accountability. All the responsibilities listed in this article will support the sales manager in having an accountable environment. Still, the leader must show accountability by following through on his or her sales manager’s responsibilities and using accountable practices in sales meetings and all communication with the team. Accountable communication includes clear expectations, responsibilities, and outcomes discussed and reviewed. Ambiguity cannot be allowed in the culture. It must be a did or did not, or complete or incomplete environment, with support to move more results to Did and Complete.
Making Time for Conversations with Your Team
A sales manager can put all other responsibilities in place and miss this simple responsibility that will strengthen your salespeople. Making time for the conversations your team members need is part of developing great people. The team is coming to the manager because they need support, something solved, or to hear praise for a win. The sales manager who makes time to listen, coach, challenge, and encourage their salespeople will deal with less drama and develop a stronger team.
Keep People in Their Lanes
It’s the responsibility of the sales manager to stay in their lane and keep the salespeople in theirs. This article outlines the sales manager’s responsibilities. No responsibilities are listed for selling, customer conversations, customer service, closing, or prospecting. We approach sales management this way as a Fractional Sales Manager, believing it’s the best approach to developing others. Your company might be different, and if you have a full-time sales manager, they might have some sales responsibilities listed in their role. With that said, you might be better served to have your sales manager focus more on developing others selling skills rather than enabling salespeople to remain dependent on their manager to finish the job.
Responsibility of Sales Manager: Addressing Poor Performance in a Timely Manner
It’s the sales manager’s responsibility to address poor performance before anyone else mentions it. This means confronting underperformance during one-on-ones, coaching to improve performance, and presenting improvement plans when performance is not progressing with normal meeting cadence and conversations.
Lead With Actions and Attitude
As mentioned earlier in “Keep People in Their Lane” and “Accountable Sales Environment” responsibilities, the sales manager must perform their responsibilities first. In addition, sales managers are leaders who must display leadership qualities that encourage and inspire their team to be their best. Here is a list of leadership qualities to include in your sales manager’s duties.
- Maintain a positive outlook when working
- Keep things real, don’t ignore bad news
- Stay calm in the chaos and be hopeful in a drought
- Support the company culture and values
- Make the decisions you are hired to make, and don’t make the ones your team is hired to make
- Discuss differences in private with your superiors, then support decisions made
- Keep your voice relevant and important to your team
- Be fair to all
We wish you the best. If you want to consider one of our managers to manage your team, you might find our fees very attractive for sales teams between two to eight salespeople. You already know what to expect from us.