Field sales manager: definition, responsibilities, job description

…And why every outside sales team needs one!

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Given that field sales representatives make up just over half of the sales workforce, it’s a no-brainer that to keep this substantial portion of the team functioning optimally, a leader is crucial.

Field sales manager is a manager, a planner, and an excellent seller themselves. This individual oversees a team of sales professionals that work in outside sales – or, out in the field.

What is outside sales (field sales)?

Outside sales is a term often used in comparison with inside sales. The difference between them is how products or services are sold.

Sales activities that take place in-traditional mediums, like in-person dinners, face-to-face conferences, or phone calls, comprise outside sales. Inside sales are carried out over the digital space, with deals being closed virtually via email, video chat, and so forth.

Even though virtual sales have become a popular format for businesses during the pandemic, outside selling isn’t going away just yet, especially because in-person human interaction has potential for significant trust-building.

What are a field sales manager’s responsibilities?

A field sales manager – which we’ve now established is synonymous with an outside sales manager – is in charge of a team of the aforementioned outside sellers. Field sales manager responsibilities might vary slightly depending on the specific job and product, but here’s a typical list of duties this individual performs:

  • Monitors sales staff performance of selling goods or services to existing and potential clients
  • Sets sales targets for team and individual sellers
  • Receives annual sales goals from executives, implements them accordingly, and regularly reviews sales figures
  • Ensures field sales team meets said sales objectives
  • Establishes techniques to maximize productivity and efficiency
  • Holds regular team meetings to share expectations, ideas, and best practices and reviews performance
  • Often takes part in business meetings or calls when negotiating large contracts with major clients
  • Heads on-the-job training for new sales representatives

Who needs a field sales manager?

Regardless of whether you’re part of a sales team on the ground or you’ve built a career up to executive level, you might find yourself thinking “Hmmm, no one seems to be taking care of the above tasks for our outside sales reps and we’ve kind of got our heads under water here.”

In that case, you, dear friend, are probably in need of a field sales manager. This is also true for any business with a growing outside sales team and for companies that scaled down their field sales during corona but want to bring them back to normalcy now that events are starting to pop up again.

While most industries use outside sales to a degree, here are some B2B and B2C spheres that are particularly reliant on those in-person activities:

  • Manufacturing
  • Medical devices
  • Transportation
  • Sporting goods
  • Energy
  • Consulting
  • Networking
  • Insurance

Skills a field sales manager needs

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job opportunities for sales leaders is expected to grow by 7% between now and 2030. Looking to hire a field sales manager? Interested in embarking on this career path? Get a head start by learning about the skills crucial for this person to possess.

First and foremost, the field sales manager has his or her own ample experience in field sales as a sales rep.

Other important skills for this position are:

  • Negotiation
  • Coaching
  • Excellent verbal and written communication
  • Market knowledge
  • Coaching
  • Budgeting
  • Proficient in relevant sales technologies

Example of a field sales manager job description

Putting all of this together, let’s look at what a typical job posting would look like for this position.

Sales manager needed to lead a team of outside sales representatives for a large SaaS enterprise. You will be responsible for leading the field sales team to reach sales targets and for hiring and training team members.

Job responsibilities:

  • Coordinate with the sales director to establish quarterly and monthly objectives and adjust as needed.
  • Develop individual and team quotas.
  • Assign territories for sales reps.
  • Evaluate and adjust the performance of new and existing sales team members.
  • Maintains professional knowledge by attending required educational workshops
  • Assesses current procedures and pinpoints areas with potential for improvement

Required qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree and at least 5 years of relevant experience in this industry
  • Proven track record of field sales experience
  • Self-motivated with a desire for success
  • Great leadership skills with a coaching mindset
  • Excellent phone, in-person, and written communication skills
  • Knowledge of field sales software and CRM

Putting it all together

Now that you’re familiar with the field sales manager’s meaning, their responsibilities and skills, and the reasons to snatch one up for the team ASAP, the final step is maximizing the success capacity of the person in this role.

Revenue Grid can help field sales managers to be more effective at their jobs. Coordination and optimization of sales procedures is facilitated with built-in team analytics and pipeline visibility. The team will be sure to hit its quotas with the help of Revenue Signals and Deal Guidance, which indicate reps of the next best actions at every stage of the sale.

Read also:

Virtual Selling: Definition, Responsibilities

Salesforce Engage: what is it and how to implement it?

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