(5.7 out of 10)
|Number of Jobs:||40,100|
|This Job is Ranked in|
|Best Business Jobs||#16|
|The 100 Best Jobs||#71|
Sales managers direct the distribution of their companies' products to customers, which involves establishing sales territories as well as setting quotas and goals. Serving as the guiding hand for the sales team, sales managers outline the staff's training programs, develop strategies for the sales team to operate efficiently, and push team members to surpass short- and long-term sales targets. Sales managers also work closely with the marketing department to identify new customers the sales team can target. In addition to overseeing the sales team, sales managers also have external responsibilities that include actively recruiting and hiring new sales associates.
By 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment for sales managers will grow by 11.7 percent. During that time period, 40,100 jobs will need to be filled.
The Labor Department reports that sales managers earned a median average salary of $101,640 in 2011. The best-paid made more than $187,000 a year, while the worst-paid made around $51,760. The highest earners worked in the metropolitan areas of New York City, and New Bedford, Mass., as well as Lowell, Mass.
Employers hiring sales managers often prefer candidates with a bachelor's or master's degree in business administration with a focus in marketing. Taking courses in business law, economics, management, accounting, mathematics, finance, and statistics will give applicants a leg up on the competition. Computer and Internet skills are also useful for recordkeeping and data management. Many sales managers are promoted from the ranks of sales representatives, purchasing agents, buyers, or even promotion specialists. Some organizations also offer certification programs, a qualification that is becoming a standard among employers.
According to Bob Kelly, chairman of the Sales Management Association, the profession has changed over the past several years as a result of technology and automation. "The management job is trying to make sense of the change, and sales managers are pivotal in its success," he says. Kelly says as the profession develops, hiring managers are looking closely as traits like an applicant's ability to effectively establish a rapport with their team and to improve the sales skills of individual representatives. However, he says companies are more hesitant when it comes to hiring sales managers unless applicants can prove they’ll increase profits. To do that, Kelly recommends applicants develop a plan of action demonstrating how they would boost productivity. "Hiring managers want to know that a sales manager is about implementation and is action-oriented," Kelly says. "It's not enough for a sales manager to make more sales themselves—they have to make the rest of the team more productive."