What is a Outside Sales Manager?

Learn about the role of Outside Sales Manager, what they do on a daily basis, and what it's like to be one.

Definition of a Outside Sales Manager

An Outside Sales Manager is a pivotal role within a company's sales hierarchy, responsible for leading and guiding a team of sales professionals who operate beyond the confines of a traditional office setting. This dynamic position involves strategic oversight of sales activities conducted in the field, including the cultivation of client relationships, negotiation of contracts, and the achievement of sales targets. Outside Sales Managers not only drive revenue growth through direct sales tactics but also by empowering their teams with the training, resources, and motivation needed to succeed in a competitive external environment. They act as the linchpin between a company's sales operations and its customers, ensuring that business objectives align with customer satisfaction and loyalty.

What does a Outside Sales Manager do?

Outside Sales Managers play a pivotal role in driving a company's revenue by developing and executing strategies for selling products or services to customers outside of a traditional retail environment. They lead and motivate teams of sales representatives, ensuring that they meet or exceed sales targets while building and maintaining strong relationships with clients. Their role involves a combination of strategic oversight, hands-on sales activities, and customer relationship management, all aimed at expanding the company's market presence and increasing profitability.

Key Responsibilities of an Outside Sales Manager

  • Developing and implementing effective sales strategies to achieve sales targets and expand the customer base.
  • Leading, coaching, and mentoring outside sales representatives to improve their skills and performance.
  • Building and maintaining strong, long-term relationships with key clients and potential customers.
  • Conducting market research to identify selling possibilities and evaluate customer needs.
  • Setting individual sales targets and KPIs for sales team members and monitoring their performance.
  • Preparing and delivering appropriate presentations on products and services to customers.
  • Negotiating and closing agreements with clients, ensuring adherence to law-established rules and guidelines.
  • Collaborating with the marketing team to plan and oversee new marketing initiatives.
  • Providing timely and effective solutions aligned with clients' needs.
  • Keeping up with trends and developments in the market to stay competitive.
  • Reporting on sales results and forecasting future sales to upper management.
  • Handling customer complaints or concerns quickly and professionally to maintain trust.

Day to Day Activities for Outside Sales Manager at Different Levels

The day-to-day responsibilities of an Outside Sales Manager can vary significantly depending on their level of experience. Those new to the role may focus on building client relationships and understanding the sales process, while mid-level managers often work on developing sales strategies and improving team performance. Senior Outside Sales Managers are typically involved in high-level strategic planning and leadership. Below, we'll explore the specific responsibilities that Outside Sales Managers may encounter at each stage of their career.

Daily Responsibilities for Entry Level Outside Sales Managers

At the entry level, Outside Sales Managers are learning the fundamentals of sales, product knowledge, and customer engagement. Their daily activities are centered around gaining experience in the field and supporting the sales team's efforts.

  • Shadowing experienced sales representatives to learn sales techniques and product details
  • Building and maintaining relationships with new and existing clients
  • Assisting in the preparation and delivery of sales presentations and proposals
  • Handling customer inquiries and providing support as needed
  • Learning to navigate customer relationship management (CRM) systems
  • Participating in sales meetings and training sessions to improve skills
  • Daily Responsibilities for Mid Level Outside Sales Managers

    Mid-level Outside Sales Managers have a more autonomous role, taking on greater responsibility for sales targets and team leadership. They work to optimize sales processes and are more involved in the strategic aspects of sales management.

  • Developing and implementing sales strategies to achieve targets
  • Conducting market analysis to identify new opportunities and understand competitor activity
  • Coaching and mentoring sales representatives to improve performance
  • Managing key accounts and building strategic client relationships
  • Collaborating with marketing and product teams to align sales strategies
  • Monitoring sales metrics and performance to ensure goals are met
  • Daily Responsibilities for Senior Outside Sales Managers

    Senior Outside Sales Managers are responsible for the overall success of the sales department. They play a crucial role in shaping the sales strategy, driving growth, and ensuring that the sales team aligns with the company's broader objectives.

  • Setting sales goals and defining key performance indicators for the sales team
  • Leading negotiations with major clients and closing high-value deals
  • Developing and maintaining senior-level client relationships
  • Creating and overseeing the sales budget and forecasting sales trends
  • Collaborating with executive leadership to inform company strategy
  • Mentoring and developing mid-level managers and preparing them for leadership roles
  • Types of Outside Sales Managers

    Outside sales management is a dynamic career that encompasses a variety of specializations, each with its own set of skills, strategies, and areas of focus. Different types of Outside Sales Managers excel in distinct aspects of sales, from developing new territories to managing large, complex deals. These variations in roles allow for a diverse range of career trajectories within the field of sales management. Each type of Outside Sales Manager plays a pivotal role in driving revenue and building relationships with clients, from initial contact to closing deals and beyond, catering to different market segments and sales processes.

    Territory Sales Manager

    Territory Sales Managers are responsible for overseeing sales operations within a specific geographic area. They excel in creating and executing strategic plans to maximize sales performance in their assigned territories. These managers analyze market trends, identify potential customer segments, and allocate resources effectively to achieve sales targets. They often work closely with local businesses and clients, building strong relationships and tailoring their approach to the unique needs of the region. Their role is crucial in companies that have a decentralized sales structure or that operate in diverse markets with varying local demands.

    Strategic Accounts Sales Manager

    Strategic Accounts Sales Managers focus on nurturing and expanding relationships with key accounts that have significant long-term value. They specialize in managing complex sales cycles and negotiating high-value contracts with major clients. Unlike other sales managers, they often deal with a smaller number of customers, dedicating more time to understanding each client's business and developing tailored solutions. Their role is essential in B2B environments where long-term partnerships and high-stakes negotiations are common, such as in technology, manufacturing, or pharmaceutical sales.

    Channel Sales Manager

    Channel Sales Managers specialize in developing and maintaining relationships with partners that resell or distribute a company's products or services. They are adept at identifying and recruiting new channel partners, as well as providing them with the necessary training and support to succeed. These managers work closely with marketing and product teams to ensure that partners are well-equipped to represent the brand effectively. Their role is vital in industries where indirect sales through third-party channels are a key route to market, such as in software, telecommunications, or consumer electronics.

    Industry-Specific Sales Manager

    Industry-Specific Sales Managers possess deep expertise in a particular industry, enabling them to understand the unique challenges and opportunities within that sector. They are well-versed in industry-specific regulations, trends, and customer pain points. This specialization allows them to effectively communicate the value of their products or services in a way that resonates with industry professionals. They often collaborate with product development and marketing teams to ensure that offerings meet the specific needs of their industry. This role is particularly important in sectors such as healthcare, finance, or automotive, where specialized knowledge can be a significant competitive advantage.

    Global Sales Manager

    Global Sales Managers oversee sales activities across multiple countries or regions, navigating the complexities of international markets. They are skilled in adapting sales strategies to accommodate different cultural norms, legal requirements, and economic conditions. These managers coordinate with local sales teams to ensure a cohesive global sales approach, often traveling extensively to maintain a global perspective. Their role is critical in multinational corporations and companies looking to expand their international footprint, as they balance global objectives with local execution.

    What's it like to be a Outside Sales Manager?

    Ted Lasso
    Product Manager Company
    "Being a product manager is a lot like doing XYZ...you always have to XYZ"
    Ted Lasso
    Product Manager Company
    "Being a product manager is a lot like doing XYZ...you always have to XYZ"
    Stepping into the role of an Outside Sales Manager is to embrace a dynamic career where relationship-building meets strategic sales execution. It's a profession that demands a high level of autonomy and accountability, as you're often the face of the company, driving business growth through direct interactions with clients and prospects.

    In this role, every day is an adventure, filled with the potential for new connections and opportunities. It's a career characterized by mobility - one where flexibility and interpersonal skills are crucial, and where your success is directly tied to your ability to negotiate, persuade, and close deals. For those drawn to a career that combines autonomy with the thrill of the chase, and who thrive in an environment that's both unpredictable and rewarding, being an Outside Sales Manager offers a compelling path.

    Outside Sales Manager Work Environment

    The work environment for Outside Sales Managers is predominantly in the field, which means spending a significant amount of time traveling to meet clients and prospects. It's a role that requires resilience and the ability to work independently, often without the immediate support of a team. Outside Sales Managers may work from home, in their vehicles, or in various locations, adapting to wherever their clients' needs take them. The role is highly collaborative, involving regular communication with internal teams to align sales strategies with company goals.

    Outside Sales Manager Working Conditions

    Outside Sales Managers typically have a full-time schedule, but unlike many office jobs, their hours can be irregular, with evenings and weekends often dedicated to networking events and client meetings. The role involves a mix of on-the-road travel, strategy sessions, and client-facing activities. It requires a balance of strategic planning and the agility to respond to immediate sales opportunities or client needs. While the job can be demanding and sometimes stressful, it also offers the satisfaction of building relationships, closing deals, and directly contributing to the company's bottom line.

    How Hard is it to be an Outside Sales Manager?

    The role of an Outside Sales Manager can be challenging due to its competitive nature and the pressure to meet sales targets. Success in this field depends on one's ability to build trust, understand client needs, and deliver solutions that resonate. It requires a blend of sales expertise, product knowledge, strategic thinking, and emotional intelligence.

    The unpredictable nature of sales and the need to constantly adapt to new clients and market conditions can be demanding. However, for those who are motivated by targets and enjoy the art of negotiation, the challenges are part of the allure. Many Outside Sales Managers find great satisfaction in the autonomy of the role, the diversity of their daily interactions, and the tangible impact they have on their company's growth. It's a career well-suited to those who are goal-oriented, enjoy variety in their workday, and are passionate about driving business success.

    Is an Outside Sales Manager a Good Career Path?

    Being an Outside Sales Manager is a rewarding career path for those who are driven by results and enjoy working independently. The role is critical to any company's revenue generation efforts, making it a high-profile and respected position within the business world.

    Outside Sales Managers often benefit from competitive compensation, including base salaries and commission structures that reward high performance. The career path offers opportunities for advancement into higher sales management roles or strategic business development positions. With the constant need for businesses to expand their market share, the role of an Outside Sales Manager is as important as ever, providing a career that is both challenging and rich with opportunities for personal and professional advancement.

    FAQs about Outside Sales Managers

    How do Outside Sales Managers collaborate with other teams within a company?

    Outside Sales Managers are pivotal in syncing sales strategies with company objectives. They work closely with the marketing team to tailor pitches and materials, coordinate with product development to relay customer feedback for enhancements, and align with customer service to ensure client satisfaction. Their collaboration extends to the finance department for pricing and contract negotiations, ensuring a cohesive approach to driving sales and fostering interdepartmental communication to achieve business goals.

    What are some common challenges faced by Outside Sales Managers?

    Outside Sales Managers grapple with challenges like fluctuating customer demand and the pressure to meet sales targets in a competitive landscape. They must adeptly manage remote teams, often with limited face-to-face interaction, while also navigating logistical hurdles and varying regional market conditions. Building and maintaining strong client relationships is crucial, despite geographical barriers. To succeed, they require excellent communication, strategic planning skills, and the resilience to handle rejection and continuously motivate their team.

    What does the typical career progression look like for Outside Sales Managers?

    Outside Sales Managers often begin their careers as Sales Representatives, honing their skills in customer engagement and deal closing. With success, they may become Senior Sales Representatives, taking on larger territories or key accounts. As an Outside Sales Manager, they lead sales teams, strategize to meet targets, and develop client relationships. Advancement can lead to Senior Sales Manager, overseeing multiple teams or regions. Further growth includes roles like Regional Sales Director, responsible for sales performance across several territories, and potentially VP of Sales, where strategic planning and organizational sales leadership are key. Career progression reflects a shift from direct selling to strategic management, with pace influenced by results, leadership ability, and company needs.
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