Sales Manager

sales manager career guide

Table of Contents

Overview

Job Responsibilities

  • Setting sale targets and revenue objectives of the company
  • Developing and implementing strategic methods to reach  the said objectives
  • Supervising the management of sales personnel and representatives
  • Ensuring the growth of sales of the company
  • Recruiting of quality sales team
  • Plotting training sessions for the whole department
  • Analyzing sales statistics
  • Creating sales reports, budgets, and expenditures
  • Resolving customer complaints with regards to products and services offered
  • Assigning individual targets to the sales team
  • Understanding consumer behavior and creating market analysis
  • Monitoring each team member’s performance
  • Generating various platforms to increase business opportunities
  • Teaming up with the marketing team to create lead generation tactics
  • Keeping up to date with the latest strategies in the business that can be utilized in the company
  • Determining discounts, sales, and special promotions 
  • Observing competitors’ strategies and growth

How Much Does a Sales Manager Make?

Sales managers made a median salary of $124,220 in 2018. The best-paid 10 percent made $208,000 that year, while the lowest-paid 10 percent made $58,940.

sales manager median salary

Common Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree in any business-related program
  • 1-5 years of experience in sales

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Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representatives

Common Skills

Leadership

Analytical Skills

Customer Service

Teamwork

Goal-getter

Communications skills

Reliability

Patience

MEDIAN SALARY

$124,220 per year
$59.72 per hour

JOB OUTLOOK

5%

NUMBER OF JOBS

405,700

A Comprehensive Guide to Becoming a Sales Manager

Driving up sales is the main goal of most industries out there. Whether retail, real estate, manufacturing, or trading, enterprises’ constant aim is to grow their sales. Any complexity that comes their way should be taken down by the sales department and turned into a strategy instead. This is led by the sales manager who gears up the whole team to reach that goal.

The role of a sales manager is to ensure that his team is capable of generating sales at the course of their time in the company. Together with his team of competent sales professionals, they will work on attaining the revenue objectives of the company.

To be a sales manager takes a lot of courage as this career is wired only for the brave-hearted professionals who can take on the challenging role. In fact, employers are having a hard time filling the roles in sales as these require fulfilling bold tasks. Nevertheless, for someone whose passion for sales is persistent, this should not be a setback, but rather a drive to specialize oneself even more!

With a 5% job outlook for the years 2018-2028 according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), things are looking up for those who want this career because that is as fast as the average for all careers. So if you are really determined to penetrate the sales industry, we are here to guide you all throughout!

What Does a Sales Manager Do?

A sales manager serves as the leader of the sales department of any organization. He directs orders and plans strategies and coaching sessions to his army of sales personnel to achieve the revenue goals of the organization.

A sales manager’s duties may vary depending on which sector he is in, but here are the typical responsibilities he handles:

  • Setting sale targets and revenue objectives of the company
  • Developing and implementing strategic methods to reach the said objectives
  • Supervising the management of sales personnel and representatives
  • Ensuring the growth of sales of the company
  • Recruiting of quality sales team
  • Plotting training sessions for the whole department
  • Analyzing sales statistics
  • Creating sales reports, budgets, and expenditures
  • Resolving customer complaints with regards to products and services offered
  • Assigning individual targets to the sales team
  • Understanding consumer behavior and creating market analysis
  • Monitoring each team member’s performance
  • Generating various platforms to increase business opportunities
  • Teaming up with the marketing team to create lead generation tactics
  • Keeping up to date with the latest strategies in the business that can be utilized in the company
  • Determining discounts, sales, and special promotions 
  • Observing competitors’ strategies and growth

Signs You Should Consider Becoming a Sales Manager

You think you got what it takes to secure a spot in sales management? Let’s put that into test and evaluate yourself if you are cut out for the role. Here are some sure signs to tell if you are wired to be a successful sales manager:

You are a good leader.

Do you always find yourself leading a team because people trust you? You either enjoy the leadership or people are just so into your skills that they let you be the head of the team because of proven experience. Now, that will play to your advantage as you are holding a managerial role.

Being a manager demands competent leadership skills. You will not only be guiding a whole team of sales representatives, but you are also serving as the face of the sales department when holding a meeting with the higher-ups.  

You are goal-oriented.

A good manager focuses on reaching the goal given to his hands. If you are someone who takes that extra leap just to ensure goal attainment, you are fit to become a sales manager.

Managerial roles require you to become goal-oriented because these roles carry the responsibility of making these things happen. When you understand your purpose in a team, you are inching close to achieving the goals set.

You are a good mentor.

Do you enjoy sharing knowledge with others? That says a lot about your passion to teach others and help them get better at what they do. In sales management, you are going to do a lot of coaching.

A good mentor is always there to provide assistance when his members need him. A genuine liking for sharing the gift of knowledge is needed to be a good sales manager.

You are proactive.

Do you engage actively in meetings and bring ideas that actually work? If you do, then that’s a good sign of pursuing a career in sales management. This field aims to hire someone full of strategies that can actually grow sales.

Being proactive doesn’t just mean you are always speaking up, but also you are seeking ways to learn more so that you can employ these new knowledge for the betterment of the team. 

You are a gifted communicator.

Communication skills are relevant in the labor force. It’s even more required when you are holding a managerial role such as this. As a manager, you are interacting with your team members, other departments, and the executives, so exceptional interpersonal skills matter in this job.

If you don’t feel anxious communicating with various people, and instead you feel empowered when tasked to do most of the talking, then being a sales manager will work for you.

You take no sides.

In times of conflict, you will find yourself being centered by two opposing sides. You cannot be the person who sides a party without taking into consideration the whole situation. Personal biases won’t work in this field. 

Remember, you are a leader who handles a number of people so prejudices should not be the reason to lose your credibility as their manager.

You can be a source of motivation.

As the leader of the department, you are not only responsible to give out tasks and fix things in times of conflict, but you should also be able to provide the emotional support everyone needs. If people have been coming to you to seek support, maybe you are the right person to ask it from.

Providing people motivation doesn’t have to make you seem like the ray of sunshine on a gloomy team—it’s about being able to back your members up with the motivation they need to function more productively.

You can accept failures.

Do you not let setbacks let your drive go down the drain? Being in sales, there will be times that you won’t hit your quotas. Even worse, you’ll suffer a significant amount of losses. This role demands a strong stomach for failures as driving sales is highly immeasurable.

If you are a person who can easily recover from setbacks and treat these as learning lessons to improve oneself, then you can actually last in an environment such as sales.

sales

How Do You Become a Sales Manager?

So how do you become a sales manager? There are a series of requirements that one has to go through in order to successfully land the role. Though these may seem lesser in quantity as compared to any other careers, the role is much more invested in having someone skilled and experienced with sales.

Here are the steps to become a sales manager:

Complete a bachelor’s degree in marketing or any business-related program.

The first step to becoming a sales manager is earning a degree in any business-related program. There are a lot of options that will cover enough knowledge in handling sales—including marketing, business administration, business management, business law, finance, accounting, economics, mathematics, and statistics.

You have a variety of programs to suit your liking which will work to your advantage if ever you want to specialize further when you have penetrated the industry. 

Earn 1-5 years of working experience as a sales professional.

Basically, that’s just it—earning a degree and obtaining relevant experience are the keys to landing the role. It is required to have been able to work previously on sales before getting hired, as sales is more experiential than academically demanding. In fact, some sales managers out there have not graduated with a degree but have managed to secure a spot because of proven competence in the industry.

Having worked for a couple of years will demonstrate your expertise and the skill set needed to generate sales. Plus, having enough experience as a part of a team makes you more grounded as you worked your way up to the position. Most sales managers are promoted because of their outstanding performance as a team player so it really is a requirement to initially work for an entry-level sales role.

What are the Knowledge and Skills Needed to be a Sales Manager?

The key responsibilities of a sales manager are highly experience-oriented, so in order to successfully fulfill these, he has to instill the expertise that will help him achieve his goals. 

Here are some of the knowledge and skills that will make a sales manager thrive in his career:

Analytical skills

One of the main jobs of a sales manager is to analyze data gathered from sales made and customer behavior. When a sales manager understands these complexities, he will be able to provide analysis and strategies to target the right market and increase sales.

You will be monitoring a lot of factors that affect the growth of the sales which will challenge your analytical capacity.

Customer Service

Being in an industry that deals with customers and clients on a daily basis, you are required to have good customer service skills. Not only are you responsible for providing good service, but you have the liability of going that extra mile just to give the service they need.

Customer satisfaction is one of the metrics you are going to meet as this is a factor that keeps customers coming back for more.

Communication skills

Sales managers communicate with multiple colleagues on a daily basis. There won’t be a day that you are not talking so equipping yourself with good communication skills is an important investment. You are constantly communicating with your team members, senior managers, and customers so having superior communication counts.

Leadership

As a manager, you are at the forefront of the department. You are leading an entire team so the sense of direction is in your hands. Your team members are relying on you for your guidance, support and of course, commands. As a leader, you will be evaluating each member’s performance to help them achieve growth. 

Teamwork

Working in a team, you are inclined to work as a team player. The whole department has the common goal of hitting their quotas and achieving profits. You might be considered the leader, but you also have to remember that it’s your job to participate in the collaborative strategies in order to attain success.

Goal-getter attitude

Sales managers set the revenue objectives of the company and these shall be achieved. The mindset of being results-oriented is what drives a sales manager to actually reach the organization’s goals. Slacking off is a major no-no; remarkable sales managers work hard to achieve results.

Reliability

As the head of the sales department, sales managers carry a heavy load of ensuring that quotas are hit. They guide their sales staff and they should be the one setting an example of being a good salesperson. They are trustworthy and any dependencies are actually met.

Patience

Salespeople need the virtue of patience. Sales managers deal with a lot of customer complaints and they can’t be rude in times like this. They have to be careful about keeping their emotions at bay even if customers tend to behave logically unreasonable.

Here is College Factual’s list of 2020’s best 50 colleges for a degree in business administration and management you can check out.

  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Babson College
  • University of California – Berkeley
  • University of Southern California
  • Georgetown University
  • Bentley University
  • Pepperdine University
  • Michigan State University
  • Villanova University
  • Boston University
  • University of Richmond
  • Texas A&M University – College Station
  • Bryant University
  • Boston College
  • Emory University
  • Purdue University – Main Campus
  • Syracuse University
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of San Francisco
  • Georgia Institute of Technology – Main Campus
  • University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign
  • Case Western Reserve University
  • University of Miami
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • University of Delaware
  • University of Florida
  • University of Washington – Seattle Campus
  • Fordham University
  • University of San Diego
  • University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
  • University of Maryland – College Park
  • Quinnipiac University
  • University of Wisconsin – Madison
  • University of Texas at Austin
  • California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo
  • Arizona State University – Tempe
  • Washington and Lee University
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Fairfield University
  • Virginia Tech
  • American University
  • Marist College
  • University of Utah
  • Seattle University
  • James Madison University
  • Providence College
  • Ohio State University – Main Campus
  • Brigham Young University – Provo
  • Citadel Military College of South Carolina
  • College of William and Mary

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sales manager career

How to Get a Job as a Sales Manager

Finding a vacancy in sales is easy; what isn’t is landing one. So it’s better to increase your chances of securing one by exploring all the platforms offering job opportunities.

Here are some tips on how you can snag a sales manager vacancy:

Get promoted by your current company.

If you are a star player in your current team, there is a high probability that you can get promoted to being the next sales manager. Although this might seem a little rare, when the company looks for a new manager, they will tend to look first at their existing pool of exceptional salespersons. If you have demonstrated your competence in achieving great results, there’s a chance that you might be given the role.

Check with your professional network.

Your professional circle might hook you up with a referral when they know you are looking for a career opportunity. This network consists of former colleagues, classmates, acquaintances, previous professors, and more. Remember, most of you belong in the same industry so it amplifies your chance of finding your next career opportunity.

Find job listings on companies you like.

Going over the website of companies you would like to work for actually does the trick. You have to identify first which companies you would like to venture to and once you’re done, check out if they have any vacancy that fits your qualifications. This way, you are going to work for a company that you truly like.

Search on online job portals.

The easiest path to scoring jobs is through browsing job portals. With the gift of technology, things are much more convenient to do—including finding a job. So just look up the web for opportunities you might like.

Here are some websites you can start with:

Take part in career fairs.

One of the traditional ways to land a job is through attending career fairs. Career fairs are events that happen every once in a while at select areas across the country. At a pre-scheduled date, you have the chance to prepare for the requirements and impromptu interviews.

To know any upcoming career fairs on your area, these are some websites you can check out:

Learn About Geographic and Location Pay Differentials

Although the median pay for a sales manager in 2018 was $124,220, the pay still depends on the location he is residing in. Check out this list of annual mean wage for every state there is:

State2018 Mean Annual Wage
New York$198,390
Delaware$174,940
Virginia$170,760
New Jersey$168,950
Rhode Island$161,970
Colorado$160,320
Connecticut$152,760
New Hampshire$152,120
Pennsylvania$151,620
Massachusetts$151,010
Texas$148,000
North Carolina$147,690
Maryland$147,530
Kansas$147,230
Michigan$142,340
Georgia$140,820
Washington$140,700
Vermont$140,260
Wisconsin$135,940
Ohio$134,600
California$134,010
Missouri$133,570
District of Columbia$132,870
Minnesota$132,420
Illinois$131,400
State2018 Mean Annual Wage
Indiana$129,020
South Dakota$128,760
Oregon$126,340
Florida$125,050
Utah$122,190
Kentucky$121,260
Maine$121,130
Arkansas$119,090
South Carolina$118,750
Wyoming$117,350
Iowa$117,170
Alabama$115,750
Arizona$113,430
Tennessee$111,700
Oklahoma$111,360
Alaska$109,210
North Dakota$108,500
Mississippi$108,100
Nebraska$107,030
Louisiana$106,850
New Mexico$105,240
Idaho$103,780
West Virginia$102,280
Hawaii$101,480
Puerto Rico$91,460

Report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Make Your Resume Stand Out

Your resume is the first thing that an employer sees so make sure you craft one that displays your utter excellence. Not everyone takes into consideration every detail they put in their resume—do not be one of them. Instead, polish it with utmost effort to stand out among a pool of other applicants.

Here are some pointers on how you can strike a good impression to your employers with your resume:

1. Have a strong career objective.

Besides listing down your name and contact details, the first thing you are going to put at the top of your resume is your career objective. A resume without it just seems weak as compared to one that actually has it. It displays your career outlook and the drive for growth.

Make sure you construct a precise statement of who you are, what your capabilities are, and where you see yourself yielding. Having a short but impactful career objective makes an employer want more of you, thus making them hooked up in what’s in store for them.

2. Showcase your expertise.

Next up, list down the set of expertise you are proud of. Start with the hard skills and then proceed to soft skills as you go along. Be brief and put them in a bulleted form to have a clean slate. Not only does this look easier to read, but it provides a clearer overview of what your capabilities are. 

3. Enumerate your relevant experience.

In this kind of job, the more you have experience, the better. Lay out your accumulated years of experience in reverse-chronological order. Make sure you add a short summary of the duties you have handled so that the employer will see your capacity. You may also add any awards or recognition from the particular company to amplify your employability.

4. Add any sales certifications obtained.

Holding a sales certification demonstrates your genuine interest in growing your career as a sales professional. If you ever happen to garner one, don’t forget to show it off on your resume. After all, you worked hard for it so always include it.

Here are some sales certifications that amp up a candidate’s chance of getting employed:

5. List down any associated affiliations.

Sales professionals like you tend to be associated with organizations that will help you grow your career and expand your growth. Having affiliated with at least one boosts your credibility as a sales professional. 

Here are some of the professional organizations that sales professionals are part of:

6. Conclude it with a list of references.

To finish crafting your resume, top it off with a list of professional references that will prove your competency. Ensure that the people you add are credible sources of your proficiency at what you do. These could be former superiors, colleagues, and mentors who know you well enough to give a recommendation for you.

 

 

 

Ace Your Sales Manager Interview

You are down to the last step on securing your next job! Having worked for a couple of years already, you already know what an interview looks like. We will skip the common questions and head straight to the questions regarding your job.

To help you nail them, here are some of the questions you need to watch out for:

1. What made you a good sales representative? What makes you a good sales manager?

Assuming you have worked your way up from being a sales rep to becoming a manager, the interviewer wants to know how you got promoted. Your excellence in sales made you a sales manager after all. They want to know if you are going to turn out well as the manager.

Answer this question by enumerating your best assets as a sales rep. Then, incorporate it as to how you are going to apply the learnings you have acquired to your new role as a sales manager. Along the way, you shall be able to identify the differences between the two roles. Remember, you have been in the shoes of a sales rep and you know what motivates and drives reps to work, so make sure you take that into consideration upon becoming the manager.

2. What motivates the sales staff?

Having worked once or twice as the sales rep, you know what drives them to work. The typical answer would be the monetary benefits or career growth. This is just a trick question because as the leader of the team, you shall acknowledge the importance of motivation to your team members.

State an answer that will display your consideration to your team members by explaining that it varies per individual. Not everyone has the same motivation so bringing up the differences among all members can actually show your regard to them.

3. What would you say to a low-performing member?

As the sales manager, you have the responsibility of ensuring your team members are performing well. A huge part of training them to succeed is letting them know how they can improve some aspects of their skillset. It is hard to hold conversations like this, but as the mentor, you ought to provide them the feedback they need.

So work up an answer that will show how you will motivate them with words that are not too tough to offend them, but strong enough to prompt them to change. Prove to the interviewer that you are a good coach that can handle these kinds of situations.

4. What do you look for when hiring a sales staff?

A significant amount of your time as a sales manager will be spent on finding the best candidates to be a part of your team. You are the leader and you should know what core values and skills your team members should have.

Although the key abilities of an employable sales staff will vary depending on the industry sector you are in, the ideal candidate should have the same core values as the company. The best candidate to hire is not only someone who can generate sales, but can also embody the ethics of your company.

5. What does it take to be a good leader?

This question wants to verify your ability to lead a team. After all, you are the manager and people have dependencies on you. A good leader knows the weight of his role—thus, he doesn’t let any dependency miss his eyes.

Answer this question by enumerating the qualities that make a good leader such as integrity, inspirational, passionate, good communicator, analytical, accountable, and empathetic. You should be able to give out circumstances that will display these qualities.

Those are just some of the questions that could be thrown your way during the interview so you must prepare yourself for these skill-related questions to ace it. Put in every ounce of effort to blow them away with your skillset. It’s the last part, so you’ve got to show them how worthy you are to be the sales manager!

Top Online Courses for Aspiring Sales Managers

Sharpen your skills in sales by taking these top online courses

Check out this roster of Skill Success’ top picks to help you get started in your path to being an outstanding sales manager:

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