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Sales manager

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Sales managers organise, coach and lead teams of sales representatives to work towards agreed targets.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £22,000 to £70,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll need proven experience in sales, with a good record of achieving targets.

Once you reach management level, most employers will consider your sales and management experience, market knowledge and track record to be more important than your academic qualifications.

You could be considered for specialist sales management jobs if your expertise comes from a background in the designing or manufacturing of the products your team are selling.

You may need an HND or degree for some jobs that involve selling hi-tech scientific or engineering equipment, or a second language for sales jobs that involve travelling around the world to meet customers.

You could also develop your management skills by studying towards a professional qualification, like the ones offered by the:

You may need a full driving licence.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • IT, budget and report writing skills
  • excellent sales and negotiation skills
  • the ability to motivate and lead a team
  • excellent communication and 'people skills'
  • good planning and organisational skills
  • the ability to work calmly under pressure

3. What you'll do

You’ll be responsible for a team of sales representatives (‘reps’) that sell a particular type of product, or work with a certain type of customer, like business to business sales. 

You could also be the area manager for sales across a set area or sales patch.

Your day-to-day duties might include:

  • recruiting and training sales staff
  • allocating areas to sales reps
  • developing sales strategies and setting sales targets
  • providing feedback and coaching to team members
  • monitoring the team’s performance and motivating them to reach targets
  • compiling and analysing sales figures
  • reporting back to senior managers
  • keeping up to date with products and competitors
In some jobs you might also handle major customer accounts, or be involved with marketing as well as sales.

4. Salary

Starter: £22,000 to £30,000

Experienced: £30,000 to £60,000

Highly Experienced: £70,000

Most companies offer a basic salary with expenses and commission scheme, which can vary widely depending on experience and the industry or market sector. 

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work standard office hours, 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, although travelling to visit customers and your sales team may often make your working day longer. 

You may also need to attend conferences, trade fairs and exhibitions, which could involve working in the evening and at weekends.

Your job may involve some overnight stays, or travel abroad.

6. Career path and progression

With experience and a good track record, you could take on larger sales areas or be promoted to regional or national sales manager.

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Last updated: 13 September 2018