What Is Sales Management? (With Steps to Become a Manager)

By Indeed Editorial Team

30 November 2021

Sales managers are pivotal in a business' bid to generate income. From huge spending peaks to recessions, employers trust skilled sales managers to navigate changing market trends. Learning what sales management is and what skills a sales manager requires is a great way to prepare yourself for the future in the role. In this article, we answer 'what is sales management', outline how to become a sales manager and discuss what skills a sales manager may require.

What is sales management?

To answer the question 'what is sales management', it's the process of overseeing a sales team to generate revenue and meet sales targets. Sales managers drive a company's success by playing a vital role in meeting their demand and profit targets. A sales manager develops a strategy that generates income for the business. Therefore, they're valuable for business development.

Sales managers have extensive knowledge of strategies that drive demand and boost revenue, so it's their role to guide the rest of the business in the same direction. Sales managers are also critical players in a company's advertising campaigns because of their knowledge of consumers and buying habits.

What does a sales manager do?

Sales managers handle a company's profit generation strategies, so they have several daily responsibilities that help meet targets. For example, if they oversee a team of sales assistants or executives, a sales manager may act as a mentor while overseeing budgets and managing the monthly sales pipeline. Here are a few examples of the daily responsibilities of a sales manager:

  • managing the overall running of a sales team and providing support such as 1-2-1s, task delegation and mentoring

  • hiring and training new intake

  • overseeing and analysing sales reports to see if current sales strategies are working

  • working alongside marketing teams and generating methods to boost sales

  • keeping in regular contact with suppliers and stores to ensure the supply chain is running smoothly

  • contributing to and managing stock take

  • working with customers to understand their buying habits or handling any complaints

  • analysing new trends in the market and planning new strategies based on the current market

  • generating weekly, monthly or annual revenue reports

  • managing and creating strategies for increased demand or financial hardships

  • organising and attending meetings with potential clients and signing off deals and partnerships

How much do sales managers make?

Sales managers make an average of $103, 551 per year. A sales manager with several years in the field may negotiate a higher salary. These professionals can earn a respectable income, as they play a vital role in a business.

How to become a sales manager

Typically, there is no set route to becoming a sales manager. You may enter this career by studying business or finance-related courses at university level or you may work your way up from a junior sales position to a managerial role. Here is a guide you can follow to becoming a sales manager:

1. Get a bachelor's degree

Studying a bachelor's degree in business, marketing, economics or other related fields provides candidates with important information like consumer habits and spending trends, that could give you a competitive edge in an application process. These topics are vital for understanding the basics of sales management and could allow you to develop great business development strategies that generate a good deal of income. Having background knowledge of consumer trends, spending habits and business management could help you progress quickly into more senior roles within sales.

2. Gain experience in an entry-level role

While studying, you may have spare time to pursue a part-time sales assistant or merchandiser role. This vital experience allows you to learn the inside of the industry and understand how good sales techniques may affect revenue. This experience may also look good on your resume and open up more opportunities after finishing your studies.

3. Grow to a sales manager

After graduating, you may join the industry full-time and work up to a managerial role. People do this by starting in an entry-level position and gradually taking on more responsibility. Progression may involve becoming a team leader or creating a partnership with marketing and establishing new advertising and merchandising strategies. Working your way up also allows you to experience sales first-hand and puts you in a better position to manage those in entry-level or junior roles. Examples of an entry-level or junior role include a sales assistant, sales executive, merchandiser or sales apprentice.

4. Consider a master's degree

Although not essential to working as a sales manager, a master's in business or finance may give you beneficial knowledge about entrepreneurship and upper management. Candidates with a master's degree show strong leadership skills and show employers they could boost revenue and form new business strategies.

Consider joining professional bodies like the Australian Institute of Management (AIM) or taking part in leadership training programmes. This shows to employers that you're proactive and interested in furthering your personal career development and it may give you some industry insight that could be valuable in an application process.

Related: How to Become a Sales Manager

The job outlook for sales managers

Although not an industry, there is vigorous growth in the market for sales managers. Sales management is a reliable role within a business, likely because sales managers fulfil many tasks at once. These professionals are highly reputable within a company, as the business's financial success relies upon effective planning and strategy from a sales manager. They also benefit from potentially rising to more senior positions, such as sales director or other senior leadership roles.

Skills required to become a sales manager

Having the skills of a sales manager makes you capable of leading a team, developing new profit strategies and forecasting revenue. Sales managers gain skills by working their way to senior positions and getting as much exposure as possible to all aspects of sales. Below is a list of skills that make a great sales manager:

Motivation

Meeting targets and deadlines are key motivators for a sales manager. Goals are integral to a business and are critical for hitting development milestones and growing in the market. Sales managers ensure that the business meets these milestones efficiently while maintaining sustainable growth and evolving to meet customer demand.

Self-sufficiency

Members of senior leadership teams entrust sales managers to be self-sufficient and independent. Although they may answer their line manager, sales managers have more responsibility with less supervision. This includes assigning and executing tasks with little guidance, so working on being independent and self-motivated is crucial.

Related: Self-Management Skills (Definition and Examples)

Organisation

Organisation is a key part of self-sufficiency, as sales managers keep track of tasks, deadlines and other employees' schedules. Organisation is important when managing a team, as sales managers may delegate tasks, take on additional tasks and liaise with multiple departments. This skill is also key to accurate sales reporting and organising sales strategy to meet current requirements.

Verbal and written communication

Sales managers typically prepare sales pitches and quarterly reports to present to the wider business, so effective verbal and written communication is critical. Colleagues are in a better position to receive instruction when the information is clear and concise. Verbal and written communication is important for members in leadership positions, as they may liaise with other departments on key projects. They may use this skill to ensure information flows efficiently and effectively.

Related: Communication Skills: Definitions and Examples

Leadership

The ability to galvanise and lead a team of people is vital to a sales manager. An effective sales manager mentors their team and addresses their concerns about deadlines, targets and taking care of other responsibilities. Leadership means being able to handle lots of people's requests without succumbing to pressure.

Analysis

Wider teams may entrust sales managers to prepare reports on any early signs of change in the consumer market. This requires a good eye for detail to notice any meaningful patterns in the previous sales reports. Analytical skills are also useful for forecasting future consumer habits and adjusting sales strategies accordingly.

Positive attitude

As numbers and targets drive a sales manager, remaining positive through challenges is an exceptional skill for a sales manager. A positive attitude is vital for mentoring a team, as you may take on team members' responsibilities and deadlines to keep the team running smoothly and ease individual stress. Doing this positively keeps team members motivated and happy in the workplace.

Related: What Is a Business Development Manager? (With Skills)

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location. Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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