Role of the Sales Manager
I just had a conversation with a sales executive who asked me “what is the role of the sales manager?” This executive was frustrated by poor sales and felt that the sales managers could be doing more to meet sales objectives.
I agree that the sales manager’s goal is to meet or exceed sales objectives. On the other hand, the role of the sales manager is very different. The most successful sales managers understand that their success is based on the performance of their sales reps.
I believe that the role of the sales manager is to hire, develop and retain top salespeople.
Hiring Top Salespeople
Turnover, expansion, and promotions continually create the need to hire new sales reps. Hiring is arguably the most important activity for the sales manager. The sales manager’s role is to ensure that they are hiring salespeople who have the potential to be top sales performers.
Sales rep development is probably the most difficult part of the sales manager’s role. It requires great coaching skills and an ability to inspire your salespeople to strive to improve their performance.
The development process requires ongoing investment in time both for the sales managers and the sales representative. Focused sales coaches work on developing 1-2 skills, competencies or behaviors with each sales rep. Sales rep coaching involves fine tuning of sales peoples performance.
The sales manager role is to develop/coach each of his reps to shift up the performance curve. If over the course of a year the sales manager has moved each of their sales reps from a B- to a B or and B to B+ performer they are doing a great job developing their salespeople. Coaching the A++ salespeople to be better is part of the development process.
Retaining Top Salespeople
Lastly, by hiring salespeople with high potential and developing each sales rep, the sales manager must ensure sure that they retain their top salespeople. Research shows that a majority of top performers that leave an organization will do so based on their relationship with their direct manager. The sales manager must focus on creating a high-level engagement with their sales team. They should always be re-recruiting their top salespeople.
Sales managers must review their sales people and consider weeding out sales reps that are not coachable.
Sales managers that are solely focused on sales may deliver short-term results. Sales managers who are adept at hiring, developing and retaining top salespeople will have a far great likelihood of achieving long-term sustainable results.
The moral of this blog is that sales executives who can clearly define the role of their sales managers will achieve greater sales success.