Sales Manager | Meaning | Qualities | Functions | Types

Meaning of Sales Manager

A manager is one who manages others, i.e., who gets the work done through others. As such, a sales manager (also known as the marketing manager, sales director, or chief sales executive) is the person who gets the work of marketing done through the sales force. He is the chief executive or the head of the sales organization.

Sales Manager
Sales Manager – Meaning, Qualities, Functions, Types

Importance of Sales Manager

The sales management is the foundation of the whole structure of a sales organization. Sales Manager plays an important role in Small, Medium and large business.

In a small business undertaking, a sales manager performs most of the operations of marketing, i.e., the administrative as well as the operating functions.

In the case of a medium-sized undertaking, sales manager performs mainly operating functions, i.e., the execution of the marketing plan.

In the case of large undertaking, where the functions are distributed among various sections, sales manager performs the administrative work of planning, coordinating, guiding and controlling the activities of his subordinates.

Qualities of a Successful Sales Manager

There are certain fundamental qualities which are required for a sales manager to achieve success in his profession. The qualities required may be divided into three broad categories as follows.

  1. Possession of knowledge,
  2. Possession of skill and
  3. Possession of attitudes.

1. Possession of Knowledge

A sales manager should possess—

1. Knowledge of the external factors which affect the operations of his firm.

2. Knowledge of present and the future trends in the industry concerned.

3. Knowledge of the short-term and long-term objectives and the policies of his firm.

4. Knowledge of the products of his firm as well as the products of the rival firms.

5. Knowledge of the new theories/developments in the areas of motivation, research, data processing and inventory control.

6. Knowledge of the qualities, strengths and weaknesses of his sales force.

7. Knowledge of selling techniques.

2. Possession of Skill or Ability

A Sales Manager should possess

1. Ability to work harmoniously with others and to extract work from others.

2. Ability to communicate his ideas to others clearly.

3. Ability to inspire and motivate others, i.e., his subordinates.

4. Ability to analyze and interpret facts correctly.

5. Ability to take sound decisions in the right time.

6. Ability to structure various departments of the sales organization efficiently.

7. Ability to select the right type of salesmen.

8. Ability to evaluate the performance of the salesmen.

9. Ability to train and develop the salesmen for future growth.

10. Ability to understand others.

3. Possession of Attitudes

A Sales Manager should possess the following attitudes—

1. He must have an open mind to accept new ideas and avail of the opportunities for the introduction of new products or services.

2. He must be able to look ahead and plan future course of action.

3. He must have flexibility to adapt to changing techniques, methods and practices of marketing.

4. He must have desire for continuous self-development.

5. He must have a good personality.

6. He must have high standards of ethical conduct.

Functions of a Sales Manager

The functions or duties and responsibilities of a sales manager differ from one concern to another depending upon the size of the concern.

As stated earlier, in a small business undertaking, most of the marketing functions (i.e., both the administrative and operating functions of marketing) are performed by the sales manager himself.

In a medium-sized undertaking, the sales manager performs only the operating functions of marketing, i.e., the functions connected with the execution of the marketing plan framed by the board of directors.

In a large undertaking, the sales manager performs only the administrative work of planning, coordinating, guiding and controlling the marketing activities, whose execution is entrusted to several subordinates. But, in this case, though the operating functions are entrusted to the subordinates and are not performed directly by the sales manager, the ultimate responsibility to get all these functions done lies with the sales manager.

In consumer goods industry, planning function is important. It is necessary to develop sound sales programmes and integrate them with research and promotion. In industrial marketing, the operating functions become important. There is more need for the direction of the sales force, accompanying salesmen when they make calls, and do some selling himself.  Thus, in consumer marketing, sales managers devote more time to planning and less to operating. The reverse is true for industrial marketing.

In an organization, where supervision by the sales manager over the sales force is direct, the sales manager has to devote more time to operational aspects. Where supervision is decentralized down the line, there is scope for the planning functions as the functions are delegated.

An important function that takes much time of a sales manager is the management of the sales force. The apportioning of time between the planning and operating functions depends upon the nature of the products, the size of the company and the supervisory structure created.

Types of Sales Manager

On the basis of the functions performed by the sales manager, he may be classified into three categories:

  1. Administrative sales manager
  2. Operating sales manager and
  3. Administrative-cum-operating sales manager.

1. Administrative Sales Manager

In medium and large-size undertaking, the work of the sales organization is distributed among many sections or departments, and each section or department is placed under the charge of an executive officer known as assistant sales manager or deputy sales manager, and the overall supervision and control of the entire sales organization is entrusted to the head of the sales organization known as the general sales manager or sales manger.

The head of the sales organization or the sales manager of such a firm is considered as the administrative sales manger. He is regarded as an administrative sales manger, since he is required to perform only the administrative work of planning, directing, coordinating, guiding and controlling the activities of the various sections or departments of the sales organization.

An administrative sales manager has to frame the sales policies and plan the sales activities of the sales organization. He has to co-ordinate the activities of the various departments of the sales organization. He is also responsible for the direction, guidance and control of the sales force.

In short, he is responsible for the successful working of the entire sales organization.

2. Operating Sales Manager

An operating sales manager is, generally, found in medium and large business undertakings. He is, usually, subordinate to the administrative sales manager. He is responsible for the actual execution of the sales plans prepared and the sales policies framed by his head, viz., the administrative sales manager. As he mainly carries on operating functions he is called operating sales manager.

3. Administrative-cum-Operating Sales Manager

In a small business undertaking, both the administrative and operating functions relating to sales are entrusted to a single manager. Such a manager is considered as administrative-cum-operating sales manager. He is considered as administrative-cum-operating sales manager, as he performs the functions of both the administrative and the operating sales managers (i.e., both the administrative and operating functions relating to sales).

An administrative-cum-operating sales manager is the chief executive of the sales organization. He performs all the functions relating to sales with the help of a few salesmen and a few sales assistants in the sales office.

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