What Does An Online Sales Manager Do?

BY Kathy Crosett
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What is an online sales manager? Since the start of the COVID-​19 pandemic, organizational leaders have been redefining the role of the sales manager. Business leaders have asked, “What does an online sales manager do?” The short answer is that online sales managers do everything their in-​office counterparts do. And they’re responsible for motivating and tracking the activities of their remote sales team. Here’s what it takes to succeed at the role.

New Time Management Skills

Sales managers, whether they’re in the office or working remote, still face the key challenge of upskilling reps so they can close more deals. Managers who were new to working from home at the start of the pandemic quickly learned they needed a new MO. Their previous time management systems changed. They no longer had daily commutes or regular business trips during which they could sort out priorities and plan the upcoming day or week. 

If you’ve experienced this change, get proactive. You know you’re more productive if you make a list of what you plan to accomplish for the next day. And you have a better chance of completing each task if you work on it until it’s done. Jumping from one task to another wastes time.

Communicating Expectations

Because sales is about numbers, your team members should know where they stand in comparison to the goals they’ve set and the quotas they’ve agreed to. In an office environment, your reps know if the co-​worker they’re competing with is slacking in the break room or working on closing a big deal. In a remote work situation, each rep may feel like they exist on an island. As a result, some reps will drift away from the items on their to-​do list and work on activities they like best.

An online sales manager with the right training can learn which reps have this tendency and how to guide them back to critical-​path activities. Nobody appreciates having someone monitor their minute-​to-​minute activities. Engage in regular and candid conversations about the metrics your reps have agreed to. Ask them what they need from you to make their numbers. And make sure to give it to them.

Mastering Online Video

We all like to think we’re pros at using online video by now. We’ve learned how to set up ring lights and virtual backgrounds. Some of us know better than to eat and drink in front of the camera. If your reps haven’t figured out those details, some quick coaching from you, the online sales manager, can fix those bad habits.

There’s a difference between being good and great during Zoom calls. When your reps finally have the opportunity to get in front of customers online, you want to make sure they don’t turn anyone off. Nearly 44% of respondents in our 2021 Voice of the Buyer survey say reps should brush up on hygiene, etiquette and manners or risk losing the deal. Your reps may need a reminder to comb their hair before an important video call. And you might want to encourage everyone on your team to use the same virtual background, perhaps showing your corporate logo, on video calls. 

Your reps likely aren’t taking clients out to dinner these days. But they need to remember to look for visual cues from prospects during a virtual sales call. During coaching sessions, with you acting as a prospect, point out how to recognize boredom or aggravation on a prospect’s face. And then teach your reps how to pivot during the call.

What Does An Online Sales Manager Do?

Every organization will set different metrics for their online sales managers. Clarify what your bosses expect from you. Communicate with your reps and stay one step ahead of what’s happening. Those habits will help you lead your team to success.