What Does a Channel Sales Manager Do?

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  • Written By: K. Kinsella
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 31 March 2020
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A channel sales manager oversees a firm's efforts to market its products or services through a particular channel such as an online portal or through a chain of retail stores. Managers preside over a team of sales and marketing employees and are responsible for assigning individual goals and making sure that annual revenue goals are met. Typically, most employers require a channel sales manager to have both prior industry related experience and certain academic credentials.

Generally, firms require sales managers to have successfully graduated from high school and many employers prefer to fill managerial roles with college graduates. Those involved in sales supervisory roles have often completed undergraduate degree programs in business administration, marketing or management. An individual overseeing a high-revenue sales channel may also have to have completed a postgraduate degree program in sales management or a related topic.


In many instances, a firm's board of directors set the company's annual sales and revenue goals. Company-wide goals are divided among channel managers and each of these individuals further divides those goals among the sales team members. Having assigned goals, the channel sales manager must meet with the sales staff and design and implement a sales action plan. Over the course of time, the manager must regularly liaise with the individual sales people to track their progress towards the goal. If necessary, the manager may provide one-on-one coaching to people who are struggling to meet their quotas and in some instances, the manager may even reassign revenue goals if some individuals exceed personal goals earlier than anticipated.

A channel sales manager normally deals with one type of sales outlet or channel such as big-box stores, internet retailers or wholesale companies. The manager must negotiate contracts with these outside vendors and decide on price points for products so that the firm itself and its business partners can both profit from sales. In some instances, managers make strategic decisions about signing exclusivity deals with certain companies so as to avoid any issues relating to conflicts of interest. On other occasions, a channel sales manager may elect to market the firm’s products through several competing vendors even if that means that each of those vendors can sell products and services from other manufacturers or service providers.

Due to the nature of the job, most employers prefer to hire managers who have prior sales experience and in many instances, the sales people who achieve the best results are able to transition into these supervisory roles. Additionally, managers must have good interpersonal and administrative skills in order to successfully coach employees and negotiate deals with clients. Many mangers have to oversee operations within a wide area in which case managers must be willing to travel frequently and in some instances, these individuals may need second language skills.


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