Q: When should I hire a sales manager, and what is a reasonable salary?

A: When a company wants to start selling, the owner hires a salesperson. When he really want to make things happen, he hires a sales manager. My belief is that once you have four or five salespeople, you need a full-time person to manage them. Bear in mind that some of those salespeople will require a great deal of attention, others less.

How much should you pay? I think a base of approximately $50,000 is fair, plus a percentage of whatever income is generated as a result of his being there. I have found that a sales manager who's allowed the freedom to actually work and coach his staff all day, every day, will increase company sales by 10% annually.

To me, the sole purpose of the sales manager is to help salespeople sell. He's there to help get that deal you wouldn't have otherwise gotten, and if he doesn't get it, he's in the same boat as the salesperson who doesn't bring in a job. That said, I'm not sure I've ever met a good one who was overpaid. —Phil Rea has conducted more than 13,200 in-home sales calls and trained more than 1,750 salespeople. For more information, call (800) 613-4150.

Mark Robert Halper