The sales manager job description portrays a professional in the integral role of producing revenue for a company. In this position, the sales manager directs, analyzes, renders business and personnel decisions and promotes customer satisfaction. Background, knowledge and experience in business, sales and the industry of the company are necessary to advance from an entry-level sales representative job to sales manager.
Sales Manager Job Overview: What Does a Sales Manager Professional Do?
A sales manager oversees a company’s sales force and sales efforts. The sales manager job description incorporates duties and skills of leadership, planner, evaluator and customer service. Within a company, a sales manager collaborates with other managers and departments to ensure the sales force focuses on target markets and customer needs.
Sales Manager Job Duties
- Formulate strategies and plans to win new clients or customers through methods such as cold-calling, visits to businesses, emails and other direct marketing campaigns.
- Decide the terms of discounts and special pricing plans.
- Assign salespeople to territories and establish sales goals and quotas.
- Track preferences of customers or clients to focus sales efforts.
- Analyze sales statistics, such as volume, gross revenues, sales expenses and demographics of purchasers.
- Evaluate performance of sales staff and recommend or instruct on methods of improvement.
- Resolve complaints and disputes by customers or clients.
In certain businesses, the sales manager job description may include hiring and training the sales staff. Sales managers in larger businesses likely will supervise regional or local sales managers.
Sales Manager Job Essential Skills
Analytical. Formulating sales strategies requires sales managers to collect and interpret sales data. The analysis involves information such as quantity of products or services, gross revenues and demographics of the purchasers. For sales managers who interact with other businesses, demographics may include the size and industry of the particular businesses.
Leadership. The sales manager job description calls upon the professional to lead and direct sales staff. As a result, mandatory leadership skills consist of conveying goals, evaluating the staff’s work and suggesting improvements.
Persuasion. In addition to overseeing staff, sales managers deal with customers and clients. Persuasion skills help managers retain buyers who may have dissatisfaction with the quality or price of goods and services. Dispute resolution also requires the ability to persuade, as sales managers may need to explain or clarify company policies on prices and other sales terms.
Customer Service. In speaking or meeting with customers, sales managers must exhibit courtesy and patience. Customer service includes grasping the needs and desires of customers to fashion appropriate solutions.
Communication. Sales managers must clearly convey advice and instructions to staff. Communication skills also include listening to customers, higher-level supervisors and managers or staff from other departments, such as marketing and research and development. Moreover, questioning helps a sales manager understand the information and points made by those with whom the manager deals.
Becoming a Sales Manager Professional
Bachelor’s or master’s degrees in business or related fields provide the knowledge base for working in sales. Aspiring sales managers must acquire prior work experience, normally in sales. In fact, for work with many companies, sales managers may need a background and involvement in a particular industry or sector.
Qualifications & Training
The typical sales manager holds at least a bachelor’s of science. Some have master’s degrees. Generally, sales managers major in business administration or related fields. Common courses include finance, marketing, business law, management and economics. For sales managers seeking to work in a specific industry, classes in that field may prove helpful. As an example, biology, chemistry and other science classes can afford knowledge for managers working in the pharmaceutical industry.
Prospective sales managers in the securities and financial field learn about types of financial products and laws governing securities and the financial industry. Becoming a securities professional requires registration with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). However, to obtain registration, candidates must pass an exam administered by FINRA.
The sales manager job description generally calls for prior work experience. As a rule of thumb, prospective sales managers have logged one to five years as sales representatives. Additionally, certain companies seek candidates who have already worked as sales manager in other companies. Experience in the employer’s industry or field also can help.
Sales managers work full-time, often in excess of 40 hours per week. Typical work weeks consist of evenings and weekends. To fulfill their duties, sales managers must travel to the offices of distributors, manufacturers and other customers, particularly in the business-to-business sector. The travel itinerary of sales managers also include national, regional or local offices where their staffs work. With technological advances, especially in larger companies, sales managers can conduct video-conferences to hear from or speak to sales representatives, other management and customers.
Job Outlook & Advancement Opportunities
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of sales managers should rise by five percent, or by 19,000 jobs, from 2014 to 2024. With the strong presence of online retail shopping, consumer-oriented retail businesses will rely less on sales calls to reach customers. As a result, business-to-business companies offer better prospects for employment. In these companies, sales managers will still be needed to visit commercial and industrial purchasers and perform sales calls to them.
Due to their importance to companies, sales managers should enjoy stable job security. Except for merged or acquired companies, these positions are more likely to survive layoffs.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an average salary of $130,400, as of May 2015, for sales managers. The top ten percent earned above $187,200 per year, while one-fourth had salaries above $164,300 per year. At $205,800 per year, average pay was highest in the “Securities and Commodities Contracts and Intermediate Brokerage Services.” Sales managers in “Other Financial Investment Activities” rated as the second-highest paid, at an average of $194,920. The “Securities and Commodity Exchange” industry saw the third-highest salaries, at $180,860 per year.
To conclude, sales managers operate as conductors of a company’s revenue generation efforts. They assign sales representatives while also overseeing and evaluating their efforts. Their business decisions include fixing prices, discounts and other terms of sales. Within companies, sales managers typically enjoy strong job security. The best prospects for work exist in business-to-business companies, where sales calls and visits still form essential parts of the job. Depending on the size of the company and industry, salaries can reach well above $200,000 per year. Read more on the topic of manager salaries, by also discovering the job description for operations managers.
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