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The sales business is often viewed as an independent field. In some cases that is true, but in many cases it is a misconception. Sales is often subject to the same types of management structuring as other businesses. That structure often includes a sales supervisor, whose job is to work directly with a sales team. This includes helping lead the team to make its quotas, acting as a liaison between the team and between management, motivating the sales team and correcting any problems that come up within it.
To understand the position of a sales supervisor, it can be helpful to view various positions on different levels. On the lowest level, there is the sales team. On the highest level, there may be a Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The supervisor is generally one level above the sales team. This person is usually many levels below the CEO.
The sales supervisor generally acts as a buffer between the sales team and the upper levels of management. In many cases, policies and other important decisions are made at the higher levels. It is then the duty of the supervisor to ensure that such things are implemented by the sales team.
When senior managers find a problem, such as a salesperson not adhering to policies or meeting targets, their first course of action does not usually involve confronting the person directly. Instead, the sales supervisor will be notified and he must deal with such problems. This could involve him taking disciplinary action, such as issuing a warning. Handling problems with sales results often involves the supervisor exerting extra effort to help a person do better.
Such assistance may be necessary in addition to what the supervisor already does to help his sales team achieve positive results. A good sales supervisor is usually very involved in motivating and empowering his team. There are a number of ways he may do this. For example, he may generate a high level of product confidence in his team and he may organize regular sales meetings.
The supervisor’s job will likely also involve many duties not directly related to the sales team. These will generally include attending meetings with senior managers. Before meetings are held, the supervisor may have to prepare various documents, such as productivity or policy implementation reports, and distribute them among others in the company to make them aware of what is going on with the sales team.
It is also common for a sales supervisor to have some administrative duties. He may be required to maintain files regarding the performance of his team or of certain products. He may also be responsible for submitting documents related to the sales team, such as vacation requests and commission statements.
Sunny27- I agree. A sales supervisor should come from the pool of sales representatives but it does not always happen like that.
Sometimes sales supervisors come from outside the firm lacking the infrastructure knowledge necessary to provide the appropriate training immediately needed for his staff.
Worse, a sales supervisor might obtain the position due to networking contacts with little or no knowledge of the sales representative’s day to day job.
This often leads to low employee morale and higher than average turnover, which cost the company a lot of money over time.
Good article but I would like to add that an important function of a sales supervisor is development of his team.
Sales training and development furthers not only the sales representative’s product knowledge but the ability to efficiently close sales which lead to increased productivity.
The sales supervisor works as a coach and helps develop the team’s strengths further and establishes an action plan to attack the weaknesses.
The sales supervisors are generally promoted from the regular selling staff, so their expertise is essential for development of their teams and company goals. A Sales Supervisor needs to encourage his staff and promote all successes of his team no matter how small.
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