While most successful salespeople are naturally independent workers who are adept at self-management, a sales manager can be just what your team needs to thrive. Bringing far more to the team than just oversight, a sales manager sets goals, helps make sure that the team supports each others’ efforts, unblocks workflow obstacles, and recruits and onboards new salespeople. A sales manager can be leadership’s ear to the ground and provide guidance for how you can best support them, and act as the pilot to steer the sales team in the right direction.
What Can a Sales Manager Bring to Your Company?
A good sales team is full of savvy workers who are good at assessing their own efforts. But a sales manager is able to step back and see big picture objectives that individual salespeople may not have the time and bandwidth to track.
While SDRs and account executives may ask questions like “am I making progress with this lead?” or “are my cold calls effective?” a sales manager will ask crucial questions like “are we pursuing the right type of lead?” and “will the team hit our revenue targets if we maintain our current pace?” Through a combination of observation, analysis, and experience, the sales manager assesses performance and develops concrete plans to improve sales at all stages of the funnel.
These types of high level objective questions give the sales team time to stay focused on what they do best: bring in leads, nurture relationships, and close deals. So while individual team members can hone their skills, the sales manager makes sure these skills are being put to good use. But a sales manager is also vital for building and maintaining the sales team in the first place.
How Does a Sales Manager Build a Team?
Sales managers are an integral part of the sales team at every level. Not only do they provide support and oversight for the sales team, they’re often tasked with building the team itself. From recruiting and hiring to onboarding and providing continued support, the sales manager creates the foundation of the sales team.
Your sales manager is your company’s expert on what the sales team needs to thrive. That means, when it’s time to hire, your sales manager will be the one to assess that. By analyzing the full sales funnel, they can identify what type of new team members are needed, as well as which qualities and skills would be most beneficial in new recruits. Often, they’ll help you create a job posting that truly reflects the team and the position.
After interviewing candidates and being instrumental in the hiring process, a sales manager is tasked with getting your new recruits up to speed. Onboarding and observing new salespeople is a crucial part of a sales manager’s duties. Providing continued training and support helps them direct the team from the ground up.
How Do Sales Managers Support the Sales Team?
Much as SDRs and account executives split their focus to allow each team to specialize in one aspect of the sales funnel, a sales manager allows these team members to maintain that laser focus by assessing the sales process as a whole.
The sales manager is responsible for the forward momentum and cohesion of sales activities. They keep salespeople from wasting time by assessing the suitability of different avenues and techniques, and setting effective goals. But they also make sure that SDRs and account executives are on the same page and that their efforts compliment each other. A sales manager ensures your salespeople are communicating with each other, and that they represent the company in a synchronized way. But ultimately, one of the most vital services a sales manager provides is acting as a liaison between the sales team and company leadership.
How Does a Sales Manager Support Leadership?
A skilled sales manager does more than support the team – they also support leadership by making sure that sales activities and concerns are communicated effectively. Often the messenger between salespeople and leadership, the sales manager makes sure that the sales team is heard when there are problems, and that leadership is equipped with the information to help solve them.
By having the sales manager act as a dedicated unblocker and facilitator for the sales team, leadership is then freed up to continue with high-level management activities. A sales manager can also help you keep the sales team manageable, thus freeing up leaderships’ time and resources. As a liaison between sales and marketing as well, the sales manager coordinates inter-departmental activity to ensure that sales and marketing efforts work in tandem.
To begin, a skilled sales manager helps you avoid over-hiring by identifying the true source of resistance in the sales funnel. By being both an integral part of the sales team and a close observer of its overall patterns, the sales manager can help you determine if the team should (or even can) scale, or if issues may be better addressed by training, resources, or other support. And by setting and refining goals, metrics, and procedures, sales managers help ensure the sales team is functioning in a way that supports the company’s direction.
How Do Sales Managers Set Goals?
Sales managers have to assess the sales team’s performance and the company’s overall direction, but they must also understand the context of the competitive landscape in order to set effective goals. Through careful observation of the sales team and research into competitor strategies and success rates, the sales manager creates short and long term plans. These plans may include refining the lead generation strategy, branching out into new markets or shifting focus from unsuccessful territories, and even creating training and educational initiatives.
What Does A Sales Manager’s Salary Look Like?
The average sales manager in the US is $127,585, and their compensation depends on both salary and commission. However, salary varies substantially based on region, industry, and educational background.
Typically, a sales manager with more experience earns more fir a base salary than a sales manager in the beginning of their career. The salary difference between a beginning sales manager and one with more than 10 years of experience can be $15,000 annually or more. In high-revenue industries such as technology and finance, sales managers typically earn higher base salaries than in lower-revenue industries.
What Makes A Good Sales Manager?
An effective sales manager should understand the entire sales funnel well. Having served as both a team lead and an on-the-ground salesperson, a good sales manager candidate understands both the sales process itself and the project management that makes it possible.
As the sales team’s leader, advocate, and coordinator, the sales manager should be a top-notch communicator with empathy to spare. But interpersonal skills are only part of the package: to be a skilled sales manager requires analytical and interpretive skills. A good sales manager should have a strong ability to gather and interpret data, and a proven track record of using data evaluation to set actionable goals.
How Can I Hire A Good Sales Manager?
As analytical thinkers, strong sales managers will be drawn to a job posting that’s clear and substantive. And as leaders, they’ll be drawn to postings that are inspiring and give a strong indication of your company’s values. When recruiting a sales manager, make sure your job posting reflects your company, your core values, and your sales team accurately.
Most sales managers have a few years under their belt and could easily find a spot on most sales teams. A competitive compensation and benefits package is a great way to stand out to strong candidates. Doing industry and competitor research can help you determine the compensation and perks that can help you stand out, but be sure to couple this with a deep assessment of what your team can afford. Think of your sales manager as an investment – hiring the right person can pay off spectacularly, but make sure this is an investment you can support while you get there.
A Sales Manager Steers Your Sales Team
Sales managers have dynamic positions with multiple responsibilities. Finding the right sales manager can help individual team members soar while also ensuring the team is headed in the right direction. Above all, a sales manager is a problem solver, whether that problem is interpersonal, logistical, or procedural. With them at the helm of the sales team, you can secure, hone, and augment your company’s revenue stream.