What you need to know
Sales managers direct organizations’ sales teams. They set sales goals, analyze data, and develop training programs for organizations’ sales representatives.
Sales managers often are required to travel. Most sales managers work full time, and they often have to work additional hours on evenings and weekends.
Some of the things a sales manager might do:
- Resolve customer complaints regarding sales and service
- Prepare budgets and approve expenditures
- Monitor customer preferences to determine the focus of sales efforts
- Analyze sales statistics
- Project sales and determine the profitability of products and services
- Determine discount rates or special pricing plans
- Develop plans to acquire new customers or clients through direct sales techniques, cold calling, and business-to-business marketing visits
- Assign sales territories and set sales quotas
- Plan and coordinate training programs for sales staff
- Analytical skills: Sales managers must collect and interpret complex data to target the most promising geographic areas and demographic groups, and determine the most effective sales strategies.
- Communication skills: Sales managers need to work with colleagues and customers, so they must be able to communicate clearly.
- Customer-service skills: When helping to make a sale, sales managers must listen and respond to the customer’s needs.
- Leadership skills: Sales managers must be able to evaluate how their sales staff performs and must develop strategies for meeting sales goals.
The average pay for sales managers in the United States ranges from $58,940 to more than $208,000 as of May 2018.
The specific pay depends on factors such as level of experience, education and training, geographic location, and specific industry.
Employment of sales managers is projected to grow 7 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
Online shopping is expected to continue to increase, meaning more sales will be completed without a sales worker involved in the transaction. However, “brick and mortar” retail stores also are expected to increase their emphasis on customer service as a way to compete with online sellers. Because sales managers will be needed to direct and navigate this mix between online and brick-and-mortar sales, sustained demand is expected for these workers.
Sales managers are typically required to have a bachelor’s degree, although some positions may only require a high school diploma. Courses in business law, management, economics, accounting, finance, mathematics, marketing, and statistics are advantageous.
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