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 How To Build A Career As A Sales Manager

Updated on Feb 10, 2020 2341 views
 How To Build A Career As A Sales Manager

Do you want to build a career as a sales manager?


Danny wants to build his career as a Sales Manager. It is a really lucrative job, which pays well, increases career advancement, and definitely looks good on a CV.


His step towards becoming a Sales Manager is a huge one for Danny’s career. The role he is about to take on is a crucial part of the company and his decision could backfire if he doesn’t make proper plans to attaining this seemingly impossible goal.


How then did Danny work towards achieving his goal?  


Easy, by following this step by step guide on how to build a career as a Sales Manager, and you should too.


The Guide will cover the following:


Understanding The Role:

  • Who Is A Sales Manager?

  • Sales Manager Duties 

  • Sales Manager Qualifications

  • Sales Manager Skills

  • Traits Every Sales Manager Should Possess


Becoming A Sales Manager:

  • How To Become A Good Sales Manager

  • How To Develop Your Career As A Sales Manager 

  • Career Path In Sales Management

  • Sales Manager Salary


Who Is A Sales Manager?

Sales Manager is a person who is in charge of leading and guiding of the Sales team in an organization.


They conduct the company’s revenue engine. In addition to their task of creating and nurturing the company’s sales team, they also lead the team to generate hit revenue forecasts and meet customer needs.


What do they do?

Sales Managers set goals and quotas, build sales plans, analyze data, assign sales training and sales territories, coaches his team, and is involved in the hiring and firing process of members of the sales department.


Sales Manager Duties

  • Implementing a sales plan

  • Setting sales targets and objectives

  • Coaching the sales team on how to achieve their sales target

  • Training their team and monitoring their performance

  • Interviewing and hiring new members

  • Budgeting

  • Maintaining a good relationship with clients and shareholders

  • Working with the senior management team and reporting results

  • Analysing sales figure


In a company, a Sales Manager can perform a lot of general duties like managing the sales department or managing the company’s revenue. However, specific companies, have specific assignments they are required to carry out while working at their company.


These assignments are ones which are clearly stated in the job description which the company wrote in the job advertisement they put out for the position of Sales Manager. 


Below is an example:

Sales Manager Qualifications

For Danny to become a Sales Manager, one thing he needs to do is to make sure that he possesses the necessary qualifications, in addition to prior experience in Sales,  a proven track record of hitting sales targets, and experience in management( if any).


For degree, he’ll need to have a Sales Management degree and study any of the following courses:

  • Diploma In Professional Sales

  • Business Administration Degree (Bachelors or Masters)

  • Diploma In Strategic Sales Management

  • Advanced Diploma In Sales Management


Sales Manager Skills

Of course, while writing a CV for the Sales Manager job, it is important to include the top needed relevant skills in this industry. 


A well-written skills section in a resume or CV, highlighting these skills, makes it easy for that CV or resume to beat the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) so that it can be noticed by the employer who is searching for those specific skills.


A Sales Manager’s CV should include the following skills:

  • Negotiation

  • Developing services and systems that appeal to customers needs

  • Capable of meeting sales goals

  • Motivation & coaching

  • Efficient networking skills

  • Sales planning

  • Management

  • Budget development

  • Market/ industry knowledge

  • Staffing

  • Leadership 

  • Communication

  • Organisation

  • Problem-solving


Traits Every Sales Manager Should Possess

When it comes to characteristics, there are two types of Sales Managers. The ones who sit back and allow their representatives do all the work and the ones who lead by taking charge of every project given to the sales team.


The second type of Sales Manager is the one with a functional team and he is a leader that his representatives will follow, and the type of manager you should aspire to become.


These are the traits you should possess:


1. Command Of Respect

A Sales team will follow and listen to a manager they respect and ignore they one they don’t.


2. Empathy

Understand every member of your team and what each of them need to stay productive.

Coach each of them according to specific needs.


3. Active Listening Skills

Be present when a representative is talking to you, and do well to remember little details and important information.


4. Forecasting Ability

Foresight and prediction is needed as a Sales Manager. You need to know what could be the outcome of every plan and sales strategy for your company.


5. Ability To Inspire Growth 

Sales representatives look to your for guidance and won’t move until you give the order. In so many ways, your words should be able to inspire them to grow both professionally and personally.


You need to be able to motivate them into becoming better Sales People than they were before they joined your team.


6. Emotional Intelligence

Ability to interpret and understand others emotions and their reason for acting a certain way. Be emotionally intelligent enough to know when to console, motivate, support, and be a leader or a friend to your team.


And you should also know how to handle different customers’ needs and how to settle conflicts and challenges amicably with them as well.


7. An Understanding Of Your Team’s Job

Good managers know what their team needs to do, and they are ready to give what it takes to see that happen. They are the managers who are loved by their representatives because they are always working side by side with them instead of sitting back in their office.


Good Sales Managers lose or win their team.


8. Adaptability

Your sales team could be made up of experienced sales representatives and freshers who are just starting out. It is up to you to be able to adapt your leadership style to motivate and cater for sales representatives of different levels of experience.


How To Become A Good Sales Manager

Danny is hard-working, has a good sales track record, knows more about sales than his other colleagues and deserves to be promoted to the position of Sales Manager, after all, he made enough sales for the company. However, being a good Sales Manager (emphasis on good) goes beyond this.


Becoming a good Sales Manager is in possessing the right attitude, qualities/ traits, and above possessing the kind of charisma that can motivate and spur the Sales team of a company to action. He needs to know how to effectively deal with people, whether teammates, clients, or shareholders.

This is how he becomes a good sales manager:


1. Master Change And Adapt

As a Sales Manager, it is your job to see and predict what your teammates cannot. You need to have the foresight and always be prepared for whatever happens.


You are the one to prepare for your team for an ever-changing job market, for when things don’t work out and they have to abandon their primary assignment. You must face challenges with a positive attitude and focus more on a solution rather than a problem.


2. Earn The Trust Of Your Team

Usually, the sales industry is competitive, but your team can be the difference. Instead of asking your teammates to backstab their colleagues to get ahead in sales, teach them how to work together to achieve the common goal.


Be the kind of manager they can trust to give them sales advice and be charismatic. And don’t just tell them what to do, lead by example,  your actions are what they focus on.


Even when you make a mistake or error in judgement, take full responsibility for it.


3. Give Feedback 

Positive feedback and constructive criticism boost the morale of your team. When you have given them a project to execute, be sure to always check in on them to see how far they’ve gone with it and try to find out the challenges they are facing with it.


Compliment the work they’ve done and give them feedback on it. Your team works hard and do the extra hours because they want you to notice their work and pat them on the back for it. Don’t neglect to do so.


Be aware as a Sales Manager, give compliments for work well done and have consequences for missed deadlines. That is how you manage a sales team that functions well.


4. Engage Your Team

When Danny first started out as a Sales Manager, his biggest challenge was getting through to his team and getting them engaged. They weren’t interested in most of the already existing activities they followed so he had to think of some other ways.


Danny thought if he found a way to make competition more fun and interesting with rewards included, maybe his teammates will be spurred to perform better. So he did implement a system.


At the beginning of every month, he would set performance goals for making calls to clients, setting appointments, showing off products, and for identifying and acquiring new customers. 

And at the end of every month, he would take his entire team to dinner and there they would discuss how the month was for everyone and then the people who met all the goals were given points, that would lead to a reward at the end of the year.


 He also encouraged a sense of togetherness and let the teammates help each other with tips and advice.


Regularly doing this, and bringing up more of such activities, made most of the team members more productive.


5. Be Involved

Sales is a lot of pressure and your representatives worry more about their efforts rather than the goal they want to achieve. They worry about what you as their Sales Manager should do for them and prefer to be given directions rather than take initiative. They need you, unless they won’t be effective.


Being their manager, you always have to make yourself accessible to your representatives. It’s how they’ll run, if you are working side by side with them and they can reach you whenever they need to. The same way, make yourself accessible to customers as well.


Doing this is how you’ll gain the trust of your representatives and customers as well, this you how you generate more sales, how you become a good Sales Manager.


6. Train Your Team

Another thing to consider is to give your team constant training and coaching even after the onboarding process has passed. Keep teaching them.


Teach your team how to form relationships with customers in order to understand them and their needs better. Encourage them to join associations, network with the community. 


Let representatives learn more about their customers, so that they can be able to develop solutions that actually work for their problems, it's the best form of sales-training strategy.


Prepare them for career development, by the time they leave you, they should have a perfect understanding of business acumen, business behaviour, and judgement of people.


7. Constantly Push Them To Improve

Learning doesn’t end. Once your team has learned something, your next order of business should be to teach them something else.

Make sure that there is always room for improvement, always room for them to grow, don’t be restrictive with the kind of knowledge you expose them to when it comes to the sales industry.


How To Develop Your Career As A Sales Manager 


Now that Danny has become a Sales Manager (best one ever in his company) is he going to settle for just that position? 


Of course, being a Sales Manager is a great position to occupy in a company and all that. He has a lot of responsibility to shoulder, and at the same time, has lots of power and authority at his disposal too, plus his own sales team to run as he sees fit.


But Danny doesn’t just want to stop his career advancement here, he is thriving to become more than a Sales Manager, he wants to move up the ranks.


How does he do it? How would you do it if it were you?


1. Master Sales Management

In order to keep your job with hopes of ever advancing, you first have to master your current responsibilities and understand what role it is you play and how you should play it.


If you cannot manage and motivate your team, help them improve their abilities and grow, as a Sales Manager, then you can’t take on more responsibility.


2. Learn

Always learn new skills in your industry, so that you can level up on the one that you have. Whatever new thing is in your sector, be sure to learn about it so that you can broaden your knowledge.


Learn from your superiors, take online classes, and learn even from your competitors, and adapt those practices in your company.


3. Find A Coach

As you coach others, find yourself a coach. The person could be a trusted superior in your field or even your own manager.


Seek their advice and feedback so that you can learn all you need to, to improve your performance and prepare yourself for extra responsibility.


4. Acquire Time Management And Goal Accomplishment Skills

Learn how to get things done in a timely manner and also how to juggle responsibilities effectively in order to accomplish a goal.


5. Learn About Managing An Organization

Even as you are already a Sales Manager, you could also learn about the workings of your industry.


Find out how systems were setup, how things work, and how effective each sales strategy is.


6. Anticipate

While you are learning things about your current responsibility, and making your mark as a Sales Manager, be on standby to take on a new higher role. Prepare yourself for the takeover.


8 Career Path to Explore In Sales Management

Below is a chart showing the various career paths in Sales Management:


You can further read about career paths in Sales Management as explained by Hubspot in this article here.


Looking for a job in Sales ? Check out the following opportunities on our job site.


What is the Average Salary of A Sales Manager

Sales Managers in South Africa earn an average of R616,651/Yr (Six hundred and sixteen thousand, six hundred and fifty-one).


Final Note:

Congratulations! You have made it to the end of this guide and is well on your way to becoming a Sales Manager. We hope you found this guide helpful and informative.  You may also want to check out this article on how to become a network expert.

Staff Writer

This article was written and edited by a staff writer.

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