How To Become a Sales Manager
Billy Glading   by BILLY GLADING  |  published Jan 27, 2022
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How To Become a Sales Manager

My grandfather used to say that, in business, “nothing happens until someone sells something”. He himself was involved in sales, in the insurance industry, and I always found this quote of his to be very energizing. It made me want to pick up the phone and pitch a product to a potential buyer. Motivating your sales team is just one of the many duties of a sales manager.

What Does a Sales Manager Do?

Man pointing at tablet with another man

Sales managers have many responsibilities within a company. Their focus tends to be on the bigger picture with regards to the sales efforts of the company, rather than selling day to day themselves. But while they may no longer sell as frequently as they once did, they need to know the company products better than anyone.

Sales managers are likely to be involved in recruiting, analyzing data and trends, and communicating sales results to executives of the company. Here are some other potential duties of a sales manager:

Hire the sales team

Just like a coach needs good players to win games, a sales manager needs good salespeople under them in order to meet sales goals. Recruiting and hiring the right people is a key step in the process, and one that sales managers are often at the center of.

Train the sales team

Sales is one of those jobs where a lot of learning takes place on the job. You have to learn about the company products, the target audience, and of course all the positive characteristics that would make a buyer want to choose your company over a competitor. A sales manager that can train his/her team well will have a better chance of overall success.

Hands on table in group meeting

Create a sales strategy

Plan your work and work your plan. In order to create a good strategy, a sales manager needs to know his/her target audience, as well as his/her own team. How are we going to reach our audience? What role is each of our team members going to play? When everyone is on the same page, success is imminent.

Set sales goals

Here is where the motivation comes in. Your sales team needs that little carrot at the end of the string keeping them charging forward. By knowing overall revenue goals and executive expectations, sales managers are able to set individual goals and monitor progress for their salespeople. Clear goals and diligent monitoring should keep everyone on track.

Resolve customer complaints

Unfortunately, sometimes customers are unhappy with the product or service provided to them and thus they have a “bone to pick”. Usually, they ask for the manager in order to voice their displeasure. “I want to talk to your manager!!!” This is just a part of the job, and sales managers need to know how to handle these types of situations with understanding and professionalism.

How To Become a Sales Manager?

Because the profession of sales is heavily reliant on experience, sales manager jobs are not typically obtained by recent college graduates. Rather, it is ordinarily a position filled by a seasoned sales professional with anywhere from 1 to 5 years of sales experience. While there is no required path to becoming a sales manager, one avenue might be to gain some quality experience as a salesperson, then move into a role of assistant sales manager, and then on to sales manager. From an education standpoint, a bachelor’s degree from a four-year college is commonly required. If you are so inclined, you might find value in focusing your undergraduate studies on areas such as business management, marketing, economics and finance, just to name a few. Some employers might look favorably upon graduate degrees, such as a master’s in business administration (MBA). So, this is an option worth considering as well.

How much money does a Sales Manager make?

Women on phone with data printouts

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual median wage for sales managers was $132,290 in May 2020. On the low end of the spectrum, the annual salary was roughly $63,000. That is compared to $208,000 on the high end. These positions are not always based entirely on salary alone. Compensation can often be a combination of salary, commission and/or bonus. The better your team performs, the greater likelihood of increased compensation.

Quotes from Interviewed Sales Managers

Here is what some of our interviewed sales managers had to say about the work they do:

“Honestly, what I love most is working with our teams, and coaching and developing people.”-Bridget

“I like the strategic aspect of it. I love the fact that you get to work together with your team, and you get to work together with the customer to come up with a solution that will last.”-Jordan

“Helping our clients grow their business has been gratifying for me. Just to see how they continue to do well.”-Bjorn

“I am a people person, so I love everyday just constantly talking to people and engaging with people.”-Victoria

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