Pros and Cons of Working as a Sales Manager
Sales managers are responsible for ensuring organizations meet their sales goals while managing salespeople. The following are a few of the pros and cons of pursuing a career in this field.
|Pros of Working as a Sales Manager|
|Good pay (around $110,000 per year)*|
|Opportunity to oversee workers*|
|Jobs in many different industries*|
|Work in a comfortable setting*|
|Cons of Working as a Sales Manager|
|Strong competition for jobs*|
|Pressure to meet sales quotas*|
|Could face interdepartmental competition*|
|Sometimes requires long hours*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Essential Career Info
Sales managers are generally in charge of a staff of salespeople, making sure an organization meets its sales goals. Some of your daily job duties might include resolving customer complaints, directing staffing efforts, evaluating the performance of sales staff and determining discount rates. Other tasks could include preparing budgets, keeping track of market trends and customer preferences, consulting with department managers or contacting potential clients.
The BLS reported a median annual salary of about $110,000 for sales managers as of May 2014 (www.bls.gov). Professionals in the 75th percentile earned upwards of $160,000, while the lowest 10% made $53,000 or less. The industries that offered the highest salaries for sales managers were securities and commodities brokering financial investment; securities and commodities exchanges; apparel wholesalers; and specialized design services.
According to the BLS, sales managers are expected to experience an employment growth rate of about 8% from 2012-2022. Growth in this field will likely be due to increased sales efforts resulting from a growing economy. Job prospects are expected to be more plentiful in business-to-business sales, since online sales efforts are expected to decrease the need for direct sales calls to consumers. Industries with the highest levels of employment include enterprise management, car dealers, electronics brokers, department stores and computer systems design.
Most sales managers have at least a bachelor's degree in a business-related field, such as accounting, human resources management, business administration, marketing or finance. You could pursue a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree program with a concentration in sales. These programs are often combined with related areas like marketing. They typically take four years to complete and often include an internship requirement. You could take classes in areas like accounting, business communication, market intelligence, business law and economics. Other areas of study could include presentation techniques, interactive marketing, relationship-based selling and business planning.
Sales managers must be able to communicate clearly and persuasively, and they must be able to convey the benefits of a product and build relationships with clients. Similarly, active listening skills can help communicate and build relationships. Social perceptiveness, critical thinking and leadership are also valuable skills in this field.
Employers looking for sales managers often seek job candidates who have experience selling products in a specific industry. You typically must have a good sales record as well. Having earned a master's degree in business or sales could improve your chances of success. Check out the following job postings from 2012 to see what real employers are looking for in sales operations manager applicants.
- A sales operations support manager is needed in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In addition to a good sales record, you need at least 10 years of experience in the financial industry to be eligible for this position.
- A sales manager is needed to cover a regional area in Georgia. This is a business-to-business sales position that requires at least five years of experience.
- A corporate sales manager is needed in Ohio. To be eligible for this position, you need at least three years of direct sales experience.
How To Stand Out
Most sales manager positions require a bachelor's degree, and some jobs can be secured with a high school diploma; however, if you earn a master's degree in business, you may be able to increase your chances of success. A Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a terminal degree in business that takes 2-3 years to complete and could qualify you for upper-level management or executive positions. Alternatively, you could join a professional organization. Sales managers can join the Sales Management Association, which offers certification opportunities and networking events.
Advertising Sales Agent
Advertising sales agents are responsible for selling advertising space to private businesses. Their primary responsibility is contacting prospective clientele to make sales presentations. You can get this job with a high school diploma, and it pays around $45,000 per year, as of 2011, according to the BLS.
Market Research Analyst
If you want to be involved in sales and marketing, but don't want the pressure and instability associated with working as a sales manager, consider finding a job as a market research analyst. Professionals in this field study market trends and recommend effective sales strategies. The BLS reports that you typically need a bachelor's degree to get this job and it paid about $61,000 per year in 2011.