Sales managers are responsible for building a team and providing it with the resources to succeed. They also report and influence strategy for the company that employs them. In addition to these challenges, many sales managers are responsible for going out on calls with their representatives to support them in the field and potentially help them close.
Recruiting and Training
Most sales managers build their sales teams. While the company may handle the administrative work of sourcing resumes and advertising, the sales manager frequently gets involved in the interviewing process and either has influence or the final decision on who gets hired. Once new sales associates are on-board, the sales manager usually takes responsibility for getting them trained to be productive members of the team.
Ongoing Training and Support
Training and support duties don't stop when a new associate is hired. Most sales forced need constant tweaking and improvement. This helps the sales associates grow while also ensuring that their skills are appropriate for a changing market. At the same time, the sales manager frequently attends sales calls with the sales team. This allows him to observe them in action so that he can offer highly-tailored coaching. He may also able to support them by leveraging his own closing skills to help land additional business.
Strategy and Corporate Responsibilities
Sales managers also are responsible for creating plans to achieve the goals that their company sets for them. They may draw out territory lines, define which types of clients will be served by which representatives or establish quotas. At the same time, the sales manager has to report up the chain both on his teams' performance and on feedback that he collects from the market.
Compensation and Benefits
Based on data from the May 2012 Occupational Employment and Wages survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average sales manager's annual income was $119,980. Sales manager compensation is highly variable, though, since many are paid in part with commissions or bonuses. In exchange for receiving high wages and the potential for bonuses, sales managers typically work long hours. Benefits vary from company to company, but since sales managers are usually supervisory employees, paid time off, employer-paid insurance, retirement plans and other common benefits are frequently part of a compensation package. Sales managers also may receive access to a company car or automobile allowance or to a company-provided mobile phone. As with other industries, benefits can vary relative to compensation, with companies that offer lower compensation sometimes making up the gap with benefits.