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Sales managers are responsible for leading, supervising, and mentoring a team of salespeople.
While the individual salespeople are more focused on actual selling, it’s the sales manager’s job to oversee them while also staying focused on higher level tasks and objectives. Core responsibilities of a sales manager can include creating a sales plan, setting quotas for salespeople, assigning territories, and hiring, firing, and training new salespeople.1
A sales manager’s qualifications typically possess a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, or a related field. Additionally, since a management position isn’t an entry-level role, many sales manager positions require candidates to have at least three years of experience as a sales representative and perhaps even one year of management experience.2
In addition to those background qualities, successful sales managers also must possess numerous different skills necessary to do the job. These include analytical and problem solving abilities, excellent communication skills, leadership skills, a willingness to mentor and develop talent, the ability to thrive under pressure, and a strategic mind.
Sales managers are responsible for a lot. But, their main responsibilities can be broken down into three categories: managing people, managing customers, and managing the business.
In a management role, much of a sales manager’s job consists of leading and developing their team of sales representatives. These duties include recruiting and onboarding new team members, setting targets, establishing performance plans, conducting trainings, providing guidance, answering questions, and meeting one-on-one and in group settings to make sure everybody feels comfortable and confident in their roles.
When it comes to managing the needs of customers, sales managers provide advice on how representatives should handle certain situations. When necessary, sales managers will also step in and resolve issues that are escalated to them.
Finally, in regard to managing the business, the sales manager is responsible for keeping the entire team focused on the larger goals and objectives—so they don’t miss the forest for the trees, so to speak. From developing sales strategies and analyzing data to monitoring competitors and tracking metrics, the sales manager must keep an eye on how the sales team is performing on a higher level.
To become a sales manager, you’ll first want to start with the right educational foundation in place. In most cases, this means that you must possess a bachelor’s degree in marketing, business, or a related field.
Before you can pursue a career as a sales manager, you’ll also need to have some sales experience under your belt. If you haven’t already worked in sales, look for an entry-level sales representative job where you can gain some much-needed experience in the industry. Much like many other positions, sales managers climb the ranks. So, after spending a couple of years in a sales representative role, you can begin to go after opportunities that are higher up the ladder.
If you’re looking for some added insight into the career path, it’s well worth finding an experienced sales manager who would be willing to mentor and guide you. You can learn a lot from people who have walked your very same path.3