How To Become A Sales Manager

5 minutes   |  CAREER ADVICE, HEALTH

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A team of Sales Consultants can come with a large degree of varying personalities and selling styles, making the role of managing this team a highly interactive and often challenging one. The Sales Manager’s role cannot be understated. On top of having to motivate and guide a team at all times, as a Sales Manager, you’ll be expected to consistently meet your business’s desired goals and daily conversions.

Nazley Brooks, a Sales Manager in Sales and Enrolments at GetSmarter describes how entering this industry is perfect for a professional who has a passion for both people and consulting. As someone who has had experience in sales for over 13 years, she describes how a Sales Manager needs to also embrace the role of becoming a master of change.

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What are the key responsibilities of a Sales Manager?

The role of a Sales Manager depends primarily on the industry and business you find yourself in. Nonetheless, the overarching responsibility of all Sales Managers is to convert leads into customers while managing the operations in between. A Sales Manager will also be expected to train up their team and introduce them to new conversion strategies.

Research has shown the majority of sales training fails with consultants forgetting 84% of the content they’ve just covered after 90 days.Good managers are a rare find, but by consistently and proactively updating your own skills, your team is sure to follow suit.

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Working for a digital education company, Nazley has kept up-to-date with the skills relevant to the higher education environment, something often expected of Sales Managers in order to suit the environment they find themselves in. She completed online courses in values-based leadership and labour law to ensure she is leading with the right mindset and achieving performance goals.

Below are three key responsibilities relevant to any role in Sales Management:

Manage and execute the sales function
  • Understand the marketing concept and the elements of the marketing mix to identify the links between sales and marketing
  • Apply a strategic supply management process and develop relationships with both clients and teammates
  • Complete market opportunity analyses, estimate market potential and develop sales forecasting techniques

Want these skills?

Providing values-based leadership
  • Understand your personal values and formulate them into a personalised leadership profile
  • Use holistic approaches to business management to foster innovation to maintain a successful, holistic business model
  • Implement values and behaviours in your team and create values-based business strategies and proposals

Want these skills?

Managing Training and Development
  • Plan and execute an annual training plan for your team members while keeping to the training budget
  • Develop outcomes-based, competency-based and longer-term training programmes
  • Explain the importance of organisational, cultural and management development to your employer and evaluate training and development priorities in order to link them to your organisation’s objectives and business strategies

Want these skills?

Manage and execute the sales function
  • Understand the marketing concept and the elements of the marketing mix to identify the links between sales and marketing
  • Apply a strategic supply management process and develop relationships with both clients and teammates
  • Complete market opportunity analyses, estimate market potential and develop sales forecasting techniques

Want these skills?

Providing values-based leadership
  • Understand your personal values and formulate them into a personalised leadership profile
  • Use holistic approaches to business management to foster innovation to maintain a successful, holistic business model
  • Implement values and behaviours in your team and create values-based business strategies and proposals

Want these skills?

Managing training and development
  • Plan and execute an annual training plan for your team members while keeping to the training budget
  • Develop outcomes-based, competency-based and longer-term training programmes
  • Explain the importance of organisational, cultural and management development to your employer and evaluate training and development priorities in order to link them to your organisation’s objectives and business strategies

Want these skills?

What is the career path of a Sales Manager?

A career in sales comes with a large number of options, whether that means spending the majority of your time on the phone closing deals and converting leads, or sifting through and studying CRMs to reveal opportunities for optimisation. The sales career path can vary, but if you’re wanting to move up to management, simply being a great salesperson is not all it takes to get promoted.

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Sales speaker and author, Dr Tony Alessandra describes how a good sales consultant might be great at working on their own and meeting targets, but without management skills and the ability to motivate others, it’s unlikely they will move up to the role of Sales Manager.2

Nazley’s job title went from Course Consultant to Lead Course Consultant to Unit Sales Manager to Program Manager, and then to Sales Manager – Head of Sales and Enrolments. Sales Managers are seen in every industry with most Sales Managers starting out as sales consultants and moving in the direction of:

Prince Nkosi, Unit Sales Manager at GetSmarter describes how he made his way from consulting in sales to management. “To become a manager, you need to lead from the front and have characteristics of integrity, patience, vision, and keenness to learn and improve. These are the three things I believe a consultant needs to have in order to move into management:

  1. A passion for working with people: this really is number one because this job entails a lot of time spent with people.
  2. A passion for the industry: you need to actually like the product you’re consulting on – this is what will add great value to your service.
  3. A passion for ongoing learning: look into doing leadership courses and opportunities to learn – that’s why I’m currently taking the MBA essentials course with LSE because it’s opening my eyes to new developments and changes out there.”

Related Content: Find out which skills you need to enter the sales industry.

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What is the potential salary for a Sales Manager?

As in most career paths, the salary you can expect for a position will rely a lot on the organisation and industry you enter. However, the sales industry highly values experience and skill gathering, with an emphasis on leadership development and lifelong learning.3

Sales specialist, Dr Tony Alessandra says by earning the following four key skills, you could see yourself moving into the position of Sales Manager and see your earnings increase:

  1. Become a better listener rather than a good talker.
  2. Develop your coaching skills rather than focusing on your individual sales skills.
  3. Have superior people skills with emphasis on conflict-resolution.
  4. Develop an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the individuals that form part of a sales team.

 

Click on a country below to see what you can expect to get paid as a General Sales Manager in either South Africa, the United Kingdom or the United States of America:

  • RSA
    Entry-Level R150,000
    Mid-Career R290,000
    15 Years Experience R600,000
  • UK
    Entry-Level £22,000
    Mid-Career £30,000
    15 Years Experience £48,000
  • USA
    Entry-Level $42,000
    Mid-Career $64,000
    15 Years Experience $110,000

What are the education and training requirements for a Sales Manager?

Many Sales Managers have a bachelor’s degree in business or marketing. Some companies will prefer to hire a professional with a Master’s degree. However, those with an abundance of experience might not need any educational formalities.5 If you’re wanting to move into the role of Sales Manager from a lower position, companies will favour those who have taken the initiative to gain specialised skills dependent on the company or industry.6  This can be done by studying online courses or studying further. Given the digital context of the current marketplace, Sales Managers will also do well by gaining the skill to gather and interpret data.

Nazley decided to study a data analysis online short course to remain relevant in this competitive industry.

“The nature of the environment we find ourselves in, where we are constantly dealing with data to understand the metrics, establishes how we manage people. Within sales, it’s essential to focus not only on qualitative metrics to lead a successful team, but also the quantitative metrics to understand the performance of the team. It’s important to balance both of these by studying data,” says Nazley.

 


Which skills do you need to advance your career as a Sales Manager?

Download a course prospectus to find out how one of these online short courses can help you become a Sales Manager.

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1Level Eleven
2Monster
3Peak Sales Recruiting
4Monster
5Study
6Study