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What Does a Field Sales Manager Do?

By K. Kinsella
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Sales people who frequently conduct outside sales calls are known as field sales operatives because they spend very little time working in their actual office. A field sales manager supervises a team of outside sales representatives and is ultimately responsible for ensuring that these workers hit their personal sales targets. Generally, a field sales manager receives a base salary and commissions that are contingent upon the revenue created by the sales results of their employees.

Many companies employ graduates with degrees in business, marketing, or finance to work as managers. Other firms promote experienced sales people into management positions because these employees have hands-on experience working in the field. Every sales manager presides over sales employees who work within a certain district, and sales managers normally report to a general manager or executive who presides over several districts. Successful sales managers can transition into sales executive roles.

A field sales manager receives annual sales goals from the sales executive. The manager must divide the annual goals into quarterly or monthly sales targets and in doing so, the sales manager has to take into account factors such as business cycles and seasonal buying habits that often result in sales peaking during certain months of the year. Having divided the company sales goals into short-term targets, the manager must divide the goals between the field sales employees.

The sales manager holds regular team meetings with the sales team, although managers with large territories may conduct these meetings over the phone rather than face-to-face. Company expectations about job performance are communicated at these meetings, and ideas and best sales practices are shared with sales people. During the team meeting, the manager reviews the latest sales figures for the team as a whole while the sales results of individuals are normally discussed in private.

New sales staff normally receive some on-the-job training from the sales manager, which often takes the form of the field sales manager participating in sales calls to new and existing clients. Established sales people are often accompanied on business calls to major clients by the sales manager, and the manager may take the lead role in negotiations related to major contracts. In many instances, the field sales manager has the discretionary power to offer discounts and price reductions to clients.

Vacant sales positions are filled when the manager conducts interviews with prospective job candidates. The manager also has the authority to terminate employees who have performed poorly or who are otherwise unsuited to the role. Managers compile reports to track the sales activities and results of each sales representative, and preside over quarterly and annual performance appraisals. The manager usually has the authority to award pay raises to the best performing employees and to put other employees on various forms of corrective action.

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