For Impact


The Three Roles of the Sales Manager

For Impact Ideas | | Nick Fellers

Note: Tom and I (but mostly Tom) write these ‘nuggets’. I have to shine a lot of light on our newest partner, Steve Elder, who has spent 20+ years building sales teams at health care organizations and throughout higher-ed. Much of the latest ‘sales team thinking’ comes from Steve as we diagnose organizations as a Suddes Group team. The three roles of the sales manager are a result of months of conversations with Steve (and other team members) about this function.

Following up on my post about the ‘Sales Driven Funding Operation’.

A CRITICAL position on a sales team is THE Sales Manager.

IF you are committed to a sales team then you should identify THE sales manager. This is the person who fulfills these duties:

  • Is the ultimate PLAYER/COACH: This person has the street cred and is usually the organization’s BEST sales person. This person has also accepted the role of COACH to the team.
  • Has ultimately ACCOUNTABILITY: This person is 1) accountable for the sales team results, and 2) the person to whom each sales person is ultimately accountable.
    • There are also cases in which the sales manager can use others to support this function. Example, let’s say your team has ten sales people: they can report to a deputy but ULTIMATELY report to the sales manager.
  • Is the ultimate PLAY CALLER (or referee): If three sales team members want different changes to the engagement tool (for instance) the SALES MANAGER is empowered to LEAD and make-the-call, end-the-dispute, or unite-the-team around a clear decision.

Just having this vocabulary has been powerfully clarifying for organizational leadership responsible for building sales-driven funding operations.