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Careers Advice: How To Become a Sales manager

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What is a Sales manager?

A sales manager has typically been promoted from an entry-level position, such as a sales executive or a sales assistant, and holds a higher level of responsibility for the functioning of the sales department in a company.

What does a Sales manager do?

As a sales manager, you will monitor the sales pipeline, set targets and quotas for your team, and help develop a sales strategy to help your company to be commercially successful.

You will likely also have managerial responsibilities over other members of staff which will involve organising training sessions, and advising your team on how to improve their performance and develop their professional skill set.

Skills & interests required for a Sales manager

To be a sales manager, you will need excellent planning and organisational skills alongside a strong commercial mindset, so that you can plan effective sales strategies.

On top of this, you will need to have:

- Communication
- Negotiation

Working hours

Sales managers work the typical 9-5, Monday-Friday week. There may be occasional overtime in order to close a sale or meet a proposal deadline.

Work base

Sales managers usually work in an office.

Travel

It depends on the industry that you work in, but sales managers can travel all over the world with their job! For products and services that are sold globally you may need to travel internationally to meet clients or attend conferences.

Salary ranges & earning potential

The base salary of a sales manager (the amount that you get before any commission or bonuses) is usually around £30,000, which can increase to anything up to £50,000 with experience. Of course, you could earn even more than this if you hit your targets!

Each company will have their own structure and job titles, but typically sales managers can be promoted to senior sales managers and then maybe sales directors.

Perks & benefits

The biggest benefit of sales managers is that you have the opportunity to top-up your salary by meeting targets and quotas. You may also get freebies and the chance to travel for work, depending on the company that you are working for.

Education requirements

Technically there are no formal education requirements how a sales manager. However, if you’re just entering the workplace with no prior experience, you will likely need to have a degree to start as a sales manager - but even then it’ll be tough. You need to demonstrate that you’re a strategic thinker and capable of motivating a team.

You can become a sales manager without having a degree but will need a few years of experience as an executive or assistant.

Useful subjects to study at school & university

Strong numerical and written communication skills will benefit you in sales, so a qualification in maths and English might be useful. Other skills that are valued highly as a sales manager are negotiation, sales strategy knowledge and relationship-building. These are not part of any standard cirriculum, but there are professional courses available that'll give you a recognised qualification in these skills.

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