Working as a sales manager can be one of the most fulfilling experiences when it comes to professional life. Individuals that take on this career path get the chance to come up with innovative ways of marketing a business and ensuring it remains ahead of the competition. Students aspiring to be sales managers can rest assured of excellent career prospects, a decent salary and a chance to change the lives of fellow workers and customers.

Understanding Sales Management

Sales management is a business discipline that puts focus on the application of practical sales strategies while also taking care of a particular firm’s management of sales operations. Sound sales strategies are likely to ensure that a business performs exceptionally. When a firm ignores this aspect of the business, it is bound to make low sales volumes because competitors are expected to take advantage and eat into the larger share of the market. The professional in charge of the sales department in any business entity has the title of sales manager.

How to Become a Sales Manager

Sales Manager

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To become a sales manager an individual must go through a particular course and show a passionate desire to pursue a career in this field. If you want to be a sales manager, you will likely have to go through a sales management degree course. There are certain cases when an individual may take up other roles within this department albeit in a smaller capacity. In such cases, the individual may have to present a diploma or certificate in sales management.

Students in associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs in sales or business management are likely to study subjects such as accounting, marketing, business presentation and how to build a clientele. It is advisable for students that are aspiring to be sales managers to also take up a course in Information Technology because an increasing number of organizations list computer proficiency as one of the most critical requirements.

How Much Does a Sales Manager Earn?

The total amount of money that a sales manager makes depends on the particular place of work. Those that work in well-established firms are likely to earn more than those who are working in startups. Another factor that may affect the amount of money that one gets is how much experience they have. Individuals that are new in the profession may not earn as much as those who are on their fifth or sixth year in the field. Having that in mind it is important to point out that sales managers make a median salary of $121,060 each year, states the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What are the duties of a sales manager?

A sales manager is responsible for setting goals, analyzing data, hiring, and developing training programs for an organization’s sales team.

Setting goals

A sales manager comes up with goals that must be achieved over the short and long term. Some goals are set for each member of the team while others are set for the entire sales team. These goals allow the manager to gauge performance and come up with adjustments to make the team perform even better.

Analyze data

The manager gathers data that is presented by various team members and uses it to learn about trends that concern the particular organization. This data can be used to craft better marketing messages or come up with innovative ways of reaching the masses as a way of increasing sales.

Hiring and firing

Sales managers are responsible for coming up with screening templates for hiring other members of the sales team. They carry out interviews and hire people that qualify for the various positions within the sales team. In case of any negative eventuality, it is the responsibility of these managers to fire staff members that are responsible.

Develops training programs

Each member of the sales team must receive training to promote competence. A sales manager comes up with a unique or personalized training program that is aimed at equipping team members with the necessary skills and knowledge to perform their respective duties.

Top 10 Attributes of a Good Sales Manager

For any business to perform exceptionally the sales team must be well equipped to handle challenges and come up with innovative ways of carrying out various tasks. However, the team leader who is also the sales manager must have certain unique qualities that help push the team to greater heights. Keep in mind that salespeople are often funny, outgoing, curious and dynamic in their thinking. Their personalities and intelligence make them hard to lead which is why a sales manager must have a mix of attributes that lets them stand out from the rest of the group. Here are ten of the most important characteristics of a sales manager.

1. Gravitas

Gravitas refers to a manager’s ability to project seriousness in whatever action they take. When team members are unable to detect this attribute most of them will not perform as well as they should. Having the discipline to commit to something and remain committed until completion is one way of showing gravitas. Any manager that lacks this quality may not be able to inspire lower-ranking officials to greatness.

2. Empathy

In essence, a sales manager is a people manager. He or she is responsible for taking care of the members of the team which is why the ability to empathize is an important attribute. It is vital for a manager to realize that each team member is unique and must be treated carefully. A good manager can empathize with each member’s life situations, motivations, and goals. And this helps in earning trust and providing inspiration to each member individually and collectively.

3. Ability to predict the future

Sales Manager

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Inability to forecast issues concerning attrition, development, and needs can be detrimental to the business. An exceptional manager can rely on past and current reports to predict the future. This allows the professional to prepare team members for any eventuality that arises. It also makes it possible for the manager to come up with strategies that can help keep the company profitable.

4. Active listening skills

The last thing any team member wants is a leader that hardly ever pays attention when issues arise. As a sales manager, the ability to be present at the moment with the people you are working with can go a long way in building trust and motivating members. By paying attention to team members, you initiate and build a relationship of respect and confidence. Sales managers that encourage employees to engage in employee relations can lead to customer retention.

5. Emotional intelligence

Being able to discern the emotions that you are experiencing is the key to balancing your responses regardless of the issues that arise at work. Another aspect of emotional intelligence is the ability to determine emotions in other people. This allows you to know precisely when to sympathize, laugh, console, and reprimand team members. Being out of sync with the emotions of your team members can create a lot of friction that may end up working against your organization.

6. Adaptability

When dealing with more than three people, it is vital for any sales manager to be able to adapt to the unique personalities of each member. Some team members are bound to be outgoing while others may be laid back and critical of each step they take. Some members may have significant experience while others are only starting out in the profession. A good sales manager can adapt his or her leadership style to suit all the needs of the members. The manager quickly learns about the strengths and weaknesses of team members before coming up with solutions to each problem.

7. Ability to inspire

A good sales manager has a track record of success which is why most organizations go for candidates that have an impressive portfolio. The professional inspires growth among team members through motivational speeches, practical examples, and appreciation. Employee reward programs increase productivity as employees are shown acknowledgment of their hard work.

8. Leading by example

Sales Manager

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Leadership is not about laying down the rules and sending team members on errands. A sales manager is not afraid of taking up any challenge and showing other people how to get things moving. Giving practical examples helps team members grasp issues faster while also motivating them to become better at whatever they are doing. Leading by example shows that you are not afraid of getting down to the trenches with the rest of the team.

9. Availability

Being accessible to team members is another attribute of a good manager. Whether you are available on telephone, email or any other communication platform it is essential to keep in touch with each member of the sales’ team.

10. Loyalty to teammates

When things are not going according to plan, a lot of people tend to get angry and lash out at lower-ranking officers. However, as a good sales manager, you should have the ability to show loyalty toward team members. Let them know that you are actually on their side, and regardless of past mistakes you genuinely want them to succeed. All this inspires confidence and motivates workers to be more productive.

The Take-Away

Becoming a sales manager is not a walk in the park. However, with passion and focus just about anyone can become excellent in this profession. If you are interested in becoming a sales manager, just remember you will need to take a course. You can find plenty of online sales management courses if that is what you want to do. Also, you need to make sure you have experience and great people skills. Once you have all of the training you need, you will be on your way to having a terrific career!


Featured image: CC by 2.0, by FTTUB, Via Flickr