Sales management is a business discipline which is focused on the practical application of sales techniques and the management of a firm’s sales operations. It is an important business function as net sales through the sale of products and services and resulting profit drive most commercial business. These are also typically the goals and performance indicators of sales management. Sales manager is the typical title of someone whose role is sales management. The role typically involves talent development.
Sales management refers to the administration of the personal selling a company’s product line(s). It includes the planning, implementation, and control of sales programs, as well as recruiting, training, motivating, and evaluating members of the sales force. In a small business, these various functions may be performed by the owner or by the sales manager. The fundamental role of the sales manager is to develop and administer a selling program that effectively contributes to the organization’s goals. The sales manager for a small business would likely decide how many salespeople to employ, how best to select and train them, what sort of compensation and incentives to use to motivate them, what type of presentation they should make, and how the sales function should be structured for maximum contact with customers.
Sales management is just one facet of a company’s overall marketing mix, which encompasses strategies related to the “four Ps”: products, pricing, promotion, and place (distribution). Objectives related to promotion are achieved through three supporting functions: 1) advertising, which includes direct mail, radio, television, and print advertisements, among other media; 2) sales promotion, which includes tools such as coupons, rebates, contests, and samples; and (3) personal selling, which is the domain of the sales manager.
Although the role of sales managers is multidisciplinary in scope, their primary responsibilities are: 1) setting goals for a sales force; 2) planning, budgeting, and organizing a program to achieve those goals; 3) implementing the program; and 4) controlling and evaluating the results. Even when a sales force is already in place, the sales manager will likely view these responsibilities as an ongoing process necessary to adapt to both internal and external changes.