How to Move From Sales to Sales Management

By: U.S. News University Connection

How to Move From Sales to Sales Management

A company’s sales team is at the heart of a business enterprise, the group that drives profits and ensures the company meets monetary goals.

For every sales team, there is someone who leads them to hit sales targets and exceed expectations. That person, the sales manager, is often one of the most important people at a company.

In most cases, a sales manager is a former salesperson herself. Having worked on the front line of sales, this person understands better the type of management a sales team needs to succeed.

Moving into management can be good career move for people with the right combination of skills and a desire to improve a company’s bottom line. It also can improve your bottom line: the median pay for sales managers is in the six figures, with the best managers making almost $200,000 per year.

Job Duties For a Sales Manager

Those who serve as sales managers are typically responsible for the sales force – recruiting, interviewing and hiring. But that’s just part of the job.

They also set sales goals, analyze sales data and oversee the development of training materials that are used by sales representatives.

Other duties for sales managers, according to the BLS, include:

  • Resolving customer complaints
  • Developing and getting approval for sales team budgets
  • Developing plans to focus sales efforts on customer preferences
  • Developing sales projections for the coming fiscal year
  • Deciding when to offer special discount rates
  • Developing plans to acquire new clients
  • Assign sales territories

Job Growth and Salary for Sales Managers

The BLS projects that job growth among sales managers will increase by 8% between now and 2012, which is about as fast as the average of all occupations. This is an overall number that must be taken with a grain of salt, because much of the growth projections depend on individual industries. Obviously, those with a growing opportunity for sales will be hiring more sales managers, while those contracting will need less.

Whatever the industry, however, businesses will need sales representatives and sales managers to oversee them, making the job somewhat stable, although the competition for the best jobs is fierce.

Strong growth is projected by the BLS for sales manager jobs that focus on business-to-business sales. This is due in part to a declining need for sales manager among retailers because of the growth of online sales.

Competition among sales managers for the best jobs is high, mostly because of the money involved. The median pay for sales managers in 2012 was $105,260 in May 2012, according to the BLS. Those making the most worked in the finance and insurance industries - $132,070. Other industries and the median pay for sales managers included wholesale trade ($114,180) and manufacturing ($109,550).

Overall, the top 10% of sales managers made a median annual salary of $187,200.

How to Become a Sales Manager

These days, those who work as a sales manager have at least a bachelor’s degree. An increasing number also have a master’s degree. The typical coursework for earning a degree in sales or business include business law, management, economics, accounting, marketing and statistics.

In some industries, the educational requirements could be less strict for those with a lot of work experience. Typically, employers are looking for people with about five years of experience and proven track record for making sales numbers.

Certifications in sales and sales management can also help make a candidate more attractive for promotion. Some of these can be achieved online and done part-time while continue to work a full-time job.

A typical certification programs offers training in selling, transitioning for a sales representative to a sales manager and becoming an expert in sales management.

Whatever course is followed, becoming a sales manager is a good option for sales representatives with ambition and the skills and training to move into a bigger role within their business organization.