What Makes a Great Sales Manager?


Once a restaurant or venue gets a solid events plan in place, it’s common to bring on a sales manager (if they don’t have one already) to take the reins when it comes to making and meeting financial plans, goals, and quotas, along with analyzing data, managing other sales team members and more. 

To get more insight into this topic, we sat down with Shannon Silva, who has nearly 20 years of hospitality industry experience. She’s now director of sales and special events for Movie Tavern, a cinema eatery concept with 24 locations in 10 states. She chatted with Tripleseat about the qualities, skills, and traits to look for in a top-notch sales manager.

They need a “closer” mentality

One of the biggest things to look for in a sales manager? Motivation.

“Not to be clichéd, but a closer mentality is huge. So many calls and proposals will come across your desk, but they don’t mean much if you can’t close the business,” she said.

To see if prospective managers have a “closer” mentality, ask for metrics in terms of how much business they brought in at their former gigs. You could even ask about some of their most memorable closes and how they pulled them off. This will give you a better idea if they can bring these same skills to your company.

They need solid listening skills

As a sales manager, it’s important to be able to pay attention to the details. It will benefit both yourself and your clients in the long run.

“Over the years, I have had a lot of my clients thank me for asking questions and taking copious notes during the initial meetup or phone call,” Silva said. “Getting all the information correct and writing your proposal based on what the client told you will result in (fewer) revisions and many times will help close the event on the first go-round.”

They need to be outgoing

Being able to land business is crucial to a sales manager role, but just as imperative is a likable, positive attitude and a personality that is inviting while conveying passion for the business they represent.

“A great personality goes a long way,” said Silva. “I connect with most of my clients personally, and that, in turn, builds trust.”

They need to be flexible

One of a sales manager’s responsibilities often includes juggling multiple projects at once, so being able to go with the flow is key.

Silva explained that “our business can change at a moment’s notice: inclement weather, increased guest count, no staff, alcohol delivery not showing up.”

So a successful sales manager truly needs to be able to roll with the punches — if they aren’t flexible, they are unlikely to last long in their role.

They need to be organized

Being able to follow up in a timely manner can be the deciding factor in whether or not you land an event client — which is why organization is key.

“Our market is so saturated, and most planners will call several spaces for information,” said Silva. “Having a client say ‘thank you for getting back to me so quickly’ is a great feeling, because it means others did not, and you have set the precedent of great service from the beginning.”

They need to follow through

Sales managers who take the time to learn the ins and outs of different departments and truly know their space will give them an edge over competitors because “it will help with execution and in turn equal a very successful event,” said Silva.

“Over the years, my success came from repeat business because the sale did not stop once the contract was signed; I stayed involved with the process from beginning to end.”

They need to get along with your staff and clients

Silva suggested spending time with a candidate to make sure they’re a good cultural fit and looking for someone humble who can not only interface with staff but will interact well with all levels of clientele.

“Over the years, my clients have ranged from a group of high schoolers trying to plan their winter dance, to the lieutenant governor of the state of California.”

We’re sold.

Use the top tool for event sales and management

Now that you know what to look for in the ideal sales manager, learn more about how Tripleseat can help you streamline your event planning and management process. Schedule a demo at your convenience to take a closer look.