Sales management is always a juggling act with so many diverse yet intertwined activities to think through. As a sales manager, I always found that talking to my peers was helpful to validate what I was doing, get new ideas, think outside of the box, and create a genuine sense of camaraderie.
The best sounding board can be either a peer or someone who has been in the position previously. They have the experience behind them to understand the nuances and context to some of the difficult decisions sales managers must make on a daily basis.
The many facets of a sales manager’s responsibilities include, but are definitely not limited to, the following:
- Sales Planning – This involves recruitment, onboarding, navigating through the organization to remove obstacles for sales, building internal relationships to help sales, developing relationships with customers at progressively higher levels to create additional opportunities, as well as establishing and strengthening change management best practices, financial acumen, resource maximization, and compliance with CRM.
- Sales Productivity – This includes best practices on when to get involved in deals; how to prioritize the top accounts to pursue; account territory planning; how to maximize partners, the sales process, negotiations, gap to goal financials; as well as establishing and monitoring KPIs, sector/territory analysis, win/loss reviews and the associated coaching required.
- Sales Talent – Sales managers have to constantly focus on how to find good people, keep them and nourish them, including evaluating their own and their reps’ career options, upskilling sales to sales management, and cultivating leadership qualities.
And, let’s not minimize the myriad of issues when balancing career, family and travel.
Of all the decisions sales managers have to make, the one thing I always was cognizant about was that most decisions involved others careers and lifestyles. Working collaboratively with other sales managers allows you to think objectively. I want to thank everyone who helped me make better decisions for myself, those who worked with me, and those who worked for me in order to achieve all of our professional and personal goals.
Janice Mars, principal and founder of SalesLatitude, is a senior business and sales executive with more than 30 years of experience helping companies build successful sales teams. She has parlayed that experience to help her clients to improve their sales processes, accurately forecast revenues, ensure focus on winnable opportunities, and attain consistent results.
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