Sales managers direct organizations' sales teams.
District Sales Manager, National Sales Manager, Regional Sales Manager, Sales and Marketing Vice President (Sales and Marketing VP), Sales Director, Sales Manager, Sales Supervisor, Sales Vice President (Sales VP)
Sales managers typically do the following:
- 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
Sales managers’ responsibilities vary with the size of their organizations. However, most sales managers direct the distribution of goods and services by assigning sales territories, setting sales goals, and establishing training programs for the organization’s sales representatives.
Sales managers advise sales representatives on ways to improve their sales performance. In large multiproduct organizations, they oversee regional and local sales managers and their staff.
Sales managers also stay in contact with dealers and distributors. They analyze sales statistics generated from their staff to determine the sales potential and inventory requirements of products and stores and to monitor customers' preferences.
Sales managers work closely with managers from other departments in the organization. For example, the marketing department identifies new customers that the sales department can target. The relationship between these two departments is critical to helping an organization expand its client base. Sales managers also work closely with research and design departments because they know customers’ preferences, and with warehousing departments because they know inventory needs.
Sales managers are increasingly using data on customer shopping habits to identify potential customers more effectively. This allows them more time to facilitate sales through customized sales pitches to individual customers.
The following are examples of types of sales managers:
Business to business (B2B) sales managers oversees sales from one business to another. These managers may work for a manufacturer selling to a wholesaler, or a wholesaler selling to a retailer. Examples of these workers include sales managers overseeing sales of software to business firms, and sales managers overseeing wholesale food sales to grocery stores.
Business to consumer (B2C) sales managers oversees direct sales between businesses and individual consumers. These managers typically work in retail settings. Examples of these workers include sales managers of automobile dealerships and department stores.
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.
- Wholesale trade
- Retail trade
- Professional, scientific, and technical services
- Finance and insurance
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.