What Is the Role of a Sales Manager?

role-sales-manager Credit: RB Fried/E+/Getty Images

The role of a sales manager is to lead and mentor a team of salespeople. Although numerous sub-roles within this job position are fixed, other roles the sales manager fulfills change throughout the company's daily, monthly and yearly sales processes.

Motivating salespeople to secure more clients and make more sales for the company is generally every sales manager's biggest role. Because their salaries are usually largely dependent upon the sales of their team members, sales managers must alter their daily schedules to help support the ever-evolving needs and challenges their sales team members face on a day-to-day basis.

Sales managers also set sales quotas for their teams and develop client relationships that reinforce the efforts of the sales team members. Sales managers also hire and fire salespeople, which makes them feared by lower-producing salespeople within organizations. Often, this blend of beloved mentor and feared production overseer puts many sales managers in precarious positions between the upper management of an organization and the salespeople directly under them.

To circumvent challenges that arise within these positions, sales managers usually set clearly defined goals, behavior codes, and reward or dismissal terms for their salespeople. Some sales managers also sell company products or services themselves, while others only supervise salespeople and are not responsible for selling the company's products themselves.