Sales Manager: One Title, Many Roles

Dec 05, 2013

How a sales manager spends their time depends on how they view their role. Some managers see themselves as lead salespeople, guiding their employees to victory by bringing in the most clients and lending hands when they have spare moments. Others take on a more administrative role, handling behind-the-scenes logistics in order to keep their employees on track. Neither of those strategies are necessarily wrong, but they leave out the key to increasing returns: employee improvement. Managers who consider their employees’ success first and foremost will eventually find their own.

By providing personal coaching, tools for success and a modern approach to productivity, managers can foster the success of their employees and companies.

Fearless Leader or Coach?

Most sales managers cut their teeth in the trenches, whether they were closing deals on the phones, at conferences or in meeting rooms. When these all-stars reach the management desk, they often think of the promotion as a reward for good work and a summons to carry on. Some businesses create these roles as management positions for lead salespeople. When salespeople become great managers, they put down the lead sheet and pick up the clipboard. They’re coaches more than sales titans, imparting their wisdom on employees for the good of the team. Sales managers who continue chasing leads instead of investing in their employees are missing the big picture. Sure, you might be able to win more business today, but if you share your skills and strategies with ten of your employees now, how much more will your team produce a month down the road?

Focus the majority of the day on your employees and you’ll see your overall team sales grow.

A New Outlook on Productivity

Time management is a common buzz-phrase in management circles, but authors Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz propose a new way to manage productivity. In their book, “The Power of Full Engagement,” the two suggest that managing energy, not time, is the key to high performance. Some see the sales day as a marathon that requires stamina and grit, but Loehr and Schwartz believe that productivity happens more in short sprints. The researchers found that the heart rate of top tennis players dropped as much as 20 beats per minutes in between points. Less players weren’t able to train their bodies to recover. In the same way, a salesman who isn’t able to lay off the gas throughout the day won’t be able to press on it when the time comes. Managers should motivate their employees to expend energy with this balance in mind.

Tools of the Trade

You can’t do all the work for your employees, but you can make sure they have the right tools to succeed. Salespeople have more information at their disposal than ever, and the right technology can make their outreach more efficient. Customer relationship management (CRM) software is the hottest platform for salespeople. Through systems like Salesforce, professionals can analyze leads, market their products and maintain a detailed schedule on one unified dashboard. When the sale goes through, Quickbooks invoicing enables salespeople to create and track invoices. Managers have a responsibility to equip their employees with tools that advance the cause. Listen to your employees and ask what holds them back from completing sales.