“Sales management” as the term implies means management of sales. Often it is considered synonymous with the management of personal sales. It involves an understanding of the effort that goes into the management of the sales force and the various processes of sales.
Sales, and selling and the sales force, is inherently a part of the marketing mix. It must be deployed appropriately if it is to play its part and have a significant effect on the whole. That means that those people undertaking the sales task must be professional: able to communicate persuasively and create the necessary relationship with customers. It also means that the efforts of sales staff must be properly coordinated and therefore well managed: sales management is therefore important, and can directly influence results.
Sales management initially was meant to be the direction of sales force personnel. Later the term took on a broader significance apart from personal selling and the term “sales management” included managing of all the sales related activities including below the line advertising, sales promotion, physical distribution, pricing and product merchandising.
American marketers association (AMA’s) definition, takes into consideration a number of these viewpoints. Its definitions runs like: the planning, direction, and control of the personnel, selling activities of a business unit including recruiting, selecting, training, assigning, rating, supervising, paying, motivating, as all these tasks apply to the personnel sales-force.
Sales-management differs from other fields of management, mainly in different aspects: the selling operation of a business firm does not exist in isolation. Thus, simultaneous with the changes taking place in the business, as well as marketing-orientation, a new concept of sales management has evolved. The business, is now society-oriented, on human-welfare aspects. So, sales-management has to work in a broader and newer environment, in co-existence with the traditional lines. The present emphasis is now on total development of human resources.