The 5 Responsibilities of a Sales Manager

I have been beating this drum for several years. The sales manager position at a dealership will single-handedly determine the profitability of the front end of your store. And yet, while it is incredibly important, the core duties of the position can be simplified down into only five responsibilities. (Only 5, you say? Yes, I say.)

This may seem like a gross oversimplification of an important position, but it isn’t. A sales manager that succeeds at championing these 5 steps will overwhelmingly be a benefit to any dealership.

Here are the 5 Responsibilities of a Dealership Sales Manager:

1. Manage your Sales Team
This starts by holding each member of the sales team accountable

  1. to their job descriptions
  2. by executing one-on-ones, weekly save-a-deal meetings, and monthly performance reviews
  3. by encouraging task completion and showroom process steps
  4. all while leveraging the CRM and any other performance metric technology

2. Motivate your Sales Team
This can only be done by getting to know them on a personal basis and understanding their why…

  1. while identifying their strengths and teaching them knowledge-based skills that minimize their weaknesses
  2. delivering positive reinforcement
  3. ensuring them access to all necessary learning modules, technology, and tools
  4. promoting consistent personal and professional growth
  5. leading by example in a role of reciprocal servitude.
  6. by always doing your due diligence to hire and train additional/better salespeople
  7. providing regular training, coaching and communication

3. Dealer Trades
Hey, it’s not sexy, but it’s part of the job.

4. Appraising Trades and Perfecting Inventory
Ensuring you have the correct lot-ready inventory your shoppers seek cannot be based on gut instinct, but rather…

  1. should be done using market pricing/appraisal technology
  2. while actively monitoring online auctions and seeking new channels in which to acquire inventory
  3. approving necessary recon work and relaying that information to both the shopper as well as your employees

5. Crash T.O.s and Close Deals
Get off your chair and out from behind your desk, before a salesperson screws something up…

  1. by performing a pre-test drive manager introduction/turnover
  2. in an effort to streamline the customer’s buying process
  3. to deliver a faster purchase experience
  4. to make more gross

We must remind our sales manager teams their job is not just to desk deals. Their job is to assist in closing the deals. I’ve surveyed sales managers at several of our DealerKnows clients’ stores and when asked what they do best at their job, almost all said “desk deals”. Let it be known, this is something that technology can almost completely do themselves. Getting out from behind their desk, interacting constantly with in-store prospects, engaging with the sales team, and being a role model is paramount to what they do behind their desk. The sales manager role is not a sedentary one, but one of constant action through participation.

I see many in our industry with the title of “manager” that do little management of their sales teams. Provided each sales manager is able to adeptly navigate and champion these 5 responsibilities above, there is nothing standing in your way from achieving better performance metrics each month – and improving overall dealership retention at the same time.


Joe Webb is the President of DealerKnows, a sales process training, and inbound marketing consulting firm specializing in automotive. We maximize companies’ online investments through the creation of sales processes, email templates, video marketing, CRM optimization, and coaching. Improving businesses online, on the phone, and on the showroom is our specialty.

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