The Truth About Being a Sales Manager
Both the architect of sales strategy and the builder of the sales team, you, the sales manager hold the key to your organization’s success. Champion of a customer-centered culture, you hire, train, and motivate the workforce.
In one of the 5 sales podcasts suggested earlier, Dropbox’s Yamini Rangan calls the sales manager “the architect of your house”. As head of sales, you should be the one who establishes your company’s sales processes and builds your sales team. This is even more so if you are a SaaS provider whose sales operation – both performance and pipeline – needs to be tightly managed. Here’s why.
Your organization’s product is ready and set to enter the market. As sales manager, you will help define your sales strategy and establish the sales support systems. Once your website, communications infrastructure, sales automation, selling tools, etc. are in place, you can focus on the human aspect of selling. This involves taking the organization’s values and culture, and translating them into actionable processes.
Hiring, training, and keeping the sales team motivated needs a focused orchestrator, so make sure you’ve considered your approach in each of the roles below. You, the sales manager set the mood on the sales floor, and you hold the key to the spirit of your team.
Being a sales manager involves:
- Defining sales rep roles: will they do both sales and account management? Will they be remote sales reps or work from the office?
- Creating a compensation strategy: how do you find the right balance in commissioning your sales team?
- Clear understanding of the ideal candidate profile
- Finding candidates with the right skill fit.
- Onboarding the new sales rep
- Instilling a customer centered culture
- Clear and objective sales goals and evaluation criteria
- Setting proper expectations for your team
- Continuous improvement.
- Inspiring work environment
- Frequent encouragement and celebration of individual success
- Ongoing coaching and mentoring
- Team building activities, and
- Fun perks.
Though the list above is not comprehensive, it clearly supports Yamini Rangan’s argument that SaaS businesses must have a sales manager first. While hiring sales reps first, and promoting the best of them as business grows may be an option, business owners should not overlook the complexity of the task. Besides management, human resources, and reporting, the sales manager is involved in setting prices, reviewing processes, handling customers, and more. In this rapidly growing field, it is imperative to have a seasoned leader at the helm.
Being a sales manager is a demanding role that requires both long-term organizational vision and a high degree of flexibility and tolerance for change. As you watch the trends and improve the sales process, work with your team to redefine responsibilities and to automate routine tasks. An involved, motivated workforce is the key to your organization’s success.