Sales Management

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Sales Management

What is Sales Management? Meaning.

Sales management is the business function focused on selling a firm's products and services by applying various sales tactics and techniques and by managing a firm's sales operations. It is an important business function, because accomplished sales transactions have a direct impact on the profits of any commercial business.

Sales Manager is the typical job title of someone whose role is sales management. He or she is responsible for selling products and services and leads a team of sales representatives, account managers and business development managers. He cooperates closely with the marketing and operations departments.

Activities of a Sales Manager

  1. Drawing up a sales plan, monitor it and report on the results. In consultation with your supervisor you develop a sales plan, based on the sales results the company wants to achieve over the coming period. The sales plan distinguishes sales 'targets', and indicates how much turnover must be achieved in the planning period (year, quarter) in total, per distributor, per customer and per sales person. You monitor the extent to which these objectives are actually being met and intervene if the results of one of your segments are below expectations. You report regularly to the management board.
  2. Leading your sales team. You manage a team of representatives who visit customers to close sales orders. You check whether they meet their personal sales targets and guide them in their personal development within the company.

  3. Establishing and maintaining customer relationships. You maintain relationships with major existing clients and create new ones. For larger companies this is mostly done by the sales team or by the account managers and you focus on drawing up an acquisition plan, which states which customers should be approached in what way. You work with marketing to determine the focus of the sales efforts, bringing in your knowledge of clients' needs.
  4. Consulting with operations departments within the company to streamline operations and sales. You work with the logistics department to ensure a timely delivery of sold products that were sold. And you discuss with manufacturing the quantity and quality that has to be produced and by what time.
  5. Analyzing customer and markets demands, identifying trends and mapping them out. For this, you work with the marketing department.
  6. Advising intermediaries (if any). You help dealers, distributors or wholesalers to achieve more sales of your products.

Competencies of a Sales Manager

  • Results orientation. You need a good numerical insight, because you are responsible for the sales figures per customer, per distributor and per seller. Most importantly, you are result-oriented and have commercial insight. You compare the current turnover with last year's results and see if you are on schedule. If sales (growth) is below your plan you take action, for example by requesting additional promotional activities from marketing. You are realistic and spend most of your time on the most important customers.
  • Communication skills. In conversations with customers you listen carefully and actively, and you can clearly answer their questions and persuade other people. You are able to transfer your knowledge of products, their applications, and their value proposition in conversations with clients, presentations and demonstrations. You send specialist questions to the relevant department and monitor the customer actually gets his answer. In conversations with your sales people you are clear and open for suggestions.
  • Customer orientation. Not only do you have a thorough knowledge of the market, you are also responsible for good relationships with the customers. You show that you are not only guided by the desire to sell, but can also think from the view point and needs of the customer. You are empathetic and not afraid to give advice.
  • Negotiate. You are obviously good at negotiating. If you are working with a new client or enter into a new contract with an existing relationship, you discuss the terms of the agreement. In this, you are balancing short and long term and aim for win-win negotiation results.
  • Motivate. You motivate your employees and help them set their sales targets. You monitor their progress and whether they function well. You know their strengths and use them and if you identify skills they need to develop, you arrange training or mentoring. You also give them the opportunity to come up with ideas.
  • Perseverance and stress resistance. For this kind of work you have to be strong in Time Management and Multitasking, because you must deal with a lot of things and competing demands in a limited time. You are flexible and can deal with work pressure and stress well.
  • Empathy. You can empathize with the needs and wishes of your customers. You are a friendly, open person and think along with customers about their needs, issues and how your products or services can help them.

Special Interest Group

Sales Management Special Interest Group.

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Approaches for Sales Pipeline Management / Sales Funnel Management
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Best Practices

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🥇 Sales versus Marketing
Most or all of the MBA institutes teach marketing in their programs. Today's corporate world emerges as sales-oriented with both marketing and sales playing a major role. Many people seem to be recru...

🥈 B2B Sales of New Products
Selling major new, innovative products is hard, especially if it's to new B2B clients. There are only few people who are good and successful at it. At the same time it is a crucial capability for many...

🥉 How to Motivate the Sales Force?
Being a sales manager, what are best practices of motivating your sales force and sales people? Thanks for sharing your ideas and experiences....

Sales Strategies | Selling Strategies
Moghareh and Haghighi (2009) discuss the various selling strategies and how each strategy affects sales performance. The authors mention 3 selling strategies that would have a positive effect on sales...

Sales Methods, Models and Theories
I say with a profound bitterness that so far we haven't found a way yet of transforming sales into a science. And it should be... I've been a student of sales for the past 21 years. I try to read eve...

Expert Tips

Advanced insights about Sales Management. Here you will find professional advices by experts.

Seven Habits of Highly Effective Salespersons

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In the article "The Seven Strategies of the Highly Effective Salesperson" (Industrial Distribution, February 2008), John...

The Value of Artificial Intelligence in B2B Sales

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Various Artificial Intelligence (AI) building blocks may change the traditionally human-centered B2B sales process. Thes...

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Is Having Only a Few Big Customers Good for a Company?

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Information Sources

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The 2 Worlds of Marketing and Sales

Making Sales and Marketing Work Together, Understanding the Differences
Funny explanation of Marketing and Sales by contrasting and comparing them with short sketches....

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Compare with: Relational Work  |  B2B Marketing  |  7 P's  |  Emotional Intelligence  |  Coaching  |  Customer Relationship Management  |  Cross Selling  |  Customer Loyalty  |  Incentives  |  Market Segmentation  |  Public Relations  |  Relational Capital

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