Sales managers perform an essential role in directing a business or organizational sales team. They directly oversee sales representatives, as well as set sales goals, analyze data and develop training programs for their teams. A sales manager’s responsibilities depend on the size of a business, and most also recruit, hire and train new members of the sales staff. Travel is frequent in this career and sales managers can be required to work additional hours on evenings and weekends.1
Though a career as a sales manager may be challenging, it can also be fulfilling. Nevertheless, before pursuing a sales-related profession, it is essential to consider the personal traits and schooling that may be required to become a sales manager.
Skills and Characteristics
Sales managers should display leadership abilities while being able to handle multiple responsibilities at once. Sales managers work closely with other members of the organization to create an environment where their sales team can succeed. Computer skills may be necessary, as many organizations rely on technology to track and quantify sales statistics.1 Each organization may have a different program or software to this end, but Microsoft Office may be a program of choice.
The ability to analyze data can also be a useful skill in this field. Analytical skills can potentially help a manager identify opportunities to improve sales and what areas to avoid.1 Properly directing assets and team members to the fertile areas, whether physical or in the marketplace, may help determine the success of a sales manager.
Some employers require that a sales manager earn either a bachelor’s or master’s degree from an accredited college or university. Other companies may accept significant work experience instead. Additionally, businesses may look for candidates who have at least one to five years in the sales industry.1
One degree path for a sales manager may include a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Marketing. Courses in this type of marketing concentration program may include Accounting, Financial Statement Analysis, Spreadsheet Applications, Management Fundamentals, Business Policies and Strategies, and Introduction to Logistics/Supply Chain Management.
Certifications and Licenses
Continuing education or certifications may be helpful for sales managers to stay up-to-date on the latest developments and trends in an industry. The Sales Management Association, the only global, cross-industry professional organization for sales operations and sales management, offers courses and certifications to promote professional development, peer networking, best practice research and thought leadership among professionals who support, manage, coach, and lead sales organizations.2
Two professional certifications include:3
- Certified Sales Leadership Professional (CSLP)
- Certified Sales Operations Professional (CSOP)
Each program includes a series of endorsed training courses, exams and in-role requirements, which focuses on the organizational competencies in the “Sales Force Effectiveness Competency Framework.” To earn the necessary credits, individuals can attend training or complete online e-learning modules.3
Additional training or skills in technical programs may also benefit an individual pursuing a career as a sales manager, such as proficiency in analytical or scientific software, business intelligence software, customer relationship management (CRM) software, database software, and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.4
Job Market for Sales Managers
According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers for sales managers are projected to grow by 5% through 2024.1 Growth is expected to depend on the expansion or contraction of the industries that employ sales managers. Demand for this profession is anticipated to be higher for sales managers in business-to-business (B2B) sales over business-to-consumer (B2C) sales. This may be due to the growth of online shopping, reducing the need for sales calls to consumers.1
What to Expect on a Day-to-Day Basis
The daily life of a sales manager can be fast-paced and exciting. Responsibilities will vary depending on the size of the organization, but most sales managers focus on the distribution of goods and services for their organization. This also includes recruiting, hiring and managing a qualified sales team to ensure the department meets their goals, exceeds expectations and ultimately delivers optimal sales numbers for the organization.1
Other responsibilities of a sales manager can also include:
- Guide the sales team by setting goals and quotas
- Develop staff training programs and strategies
- Ensure optimal team efficiency and profitability
- Resolve any customer complaints or problems regarding sales and service
- Prepare budgets and approve employee expenses
- Monitor trends and customer preferences to determine the focus of the sales efforts
- Analyze sales statistics and project sales to determine the profitability of products and services
- Acquire new customers or clients through a variety of sales techniques
- Assign sales territories1
Earn a Business or Management Degree at CTU
Colorado Technical University (CTU) offers a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Marketing (BSBA-M) degree, which focuses on essential business strategies, fundamental concepts and real-world principles. This program helps students develop the skills to track product demand and identify new customer bases. The business degree programs offered by Colorado Technical University are ACBSP-accredited. Learn more about CTU’s business and management degrees.