Sales managers typically do the following:
Sales managers’ responsibilities vary with the size of their organizations. However, most sales managers direct the distribution of goods and services by assigning sales territories, setting sales goals, and establishing training programs for the organization’s sales representatives.
Sales managers advise sales representatives on ways to improve their sales performance. In large multiproduct organizations, they oversee regional and local sales managers and their staffs.
Sales managers also stay in contact with dealers and distributors. They analyze sales statistics generated from their staff to determine the sales potential and inventory requirements of products and stores and to monitor customers' preferences.
Sales managers work closely with managers from other departments in the organization. For example, the marketing department identifies new customers that the sales department can target. The relationship between these two departments is critical to helping an organization expand its client base. Sales managers also work closely with research and design departments because they know customers’ preferences, and with warehousing departments because they know inventory needs.
Sales managers are increasingly using data on customer shopping habits to identify potential customers more effectively. This allows them more time to facilitate sales through customized sales pitches to individual customers.
The following are examples of types of sales managers:
Business to business (B2B) sales managers oversee sales from one business to another. These managers may work for a manufacturer selling to a wholesaler, or a wholesaler selling to a retailer. Examples of these workers include sales managers overseeing sales of software to business firms, and sales managers overseeing wholesale food sales to grocery stores.
Business to consumer (B2C) sales managers oversee direct sales between businesses and individual consumers. These managers typically work in retail settings. Examples of these workers include sales managers of automobile dealerships and department stores.
Sales managers are typically required to have a bachelor’s degree, although some positions may only require a high school diploma. Courses in business law, management, economics, accounting, finance, mathematics, marketing, and statistics are advantageous.