What is a Sales Manager?

Also known as: Sales Performance Manager.

A sales manager is someone who is responsible for leading and guiding a team of sales people in an organization. They set sales goals & quotas, build a sales plan, analyze data, assign sales training and sales territories, mentor the members of his/her sales team and are involved in the hiring and firing process.

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What does a Sales Manager do?

Sales managers typically do the following:

  • Oversee regional and local sales managers and their staffs
  • Resolve customer complaints regarding sales and service
  • Prepare budgets and approve budget expenditures
  • Monitor customer preferences to determine the focus of sales efforts
  • Analyze sales statistics
  • Project sales and determine the profitability of products and services
  • Determine discount rates or special pricing plans
  • Plan and coordinate training programs for sales staff

Sales managers’ responsibilities vary with the size of the organization they work for. However, most sales managers direct the distribution of goods and services by assigning sales territories, setting sales goals, and establishing training programs for the organization’s sales representatives.

In some cases, sales managers recruit, hire, and train new members of the sales staff. They advise sales representatives on ways to improve their sales performance. In large multiproduct organizations, they oversee regional and local sales managers and their staffs. Sales managers also stay in contact with dealers and distributors. They analyze sales statistics that their staff gathers, both to determine the sales potential and inventory requirements of products and stores and to monitor customers' preferences.

Sales managers work closely with managers from other departments. For example, the marketing department identifies new customers that the sales department can target. The relationship between these two departments is critical to helping an organization expand its client base. Because sales managers monitor customers’ preferences and stores’ and organizations’ inventory needs, they work closely with research and design departments and warehousing departments.

Sales managers must collect and interpret complex data to target the most promising areas and determine the most effective sales strategies. They need to work with people in other departments and with customers, so they must be able to communicate clearly. When helping to make a sale, sales managers must listen and respond to the customer’s needs. Sales managers must be able to evaluate how sales staff perform and develop ways for struggling members to improve.

What is the workplace of a Sales Manager like?

Sales managers work in a variety of environments depending on the size of the organization they work for and the product(s) they sell. They have a lot of responsibility, and the position can be stressful. Many sales managers travel to national, regional, and local offices and to dealers’ and distributors’ offices.



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Further Reading

  • Sales Manager

    Serving as the guiding hand for the sales team, sales managers outline the staff’s training programs, develop strategies for the sales team to operate efficiently and push team members to surpass short- and long-term sales targets.

  • A Career In Sales Management

    You have earned the respect of upper management and have been offered a promotion into the wonderful world of sales management. Along with the promotion comes an increase in base salary, the ability to pick and mold your own sales team, added stress and responsibility and, as a final bonus, higher expectations and a few sleepless nights!

  • Day In The Life: Working In Sales At Yelp

    We called up Mike Cornelius, a proud University of Michigan Wolverine and a seasoned Sales Manager at Yelp in Scottsdale, Arizona. He graciously took some time to tell us about how he landed at Yelp and what it’s like working in sales at Yelp.

  • Interview With A Successful Sales Manager: Moving At The Speed Of Success!

    As a Manager at two different companies I have had to learn how to adapt to different learning styles and personalities. Learning that not every employee is the same gave me the patience to treat team members as individuals and tailor my training strategies to them during weekly One on one’s.

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