Sales Manager
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Sales Manager

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Career Overview

Contrary to popular phrases you might hear in infomercials like, "It practically sells itself," products cannot actually sell themselves. So, who sells a company's products? Look no further than a sales manager, who works hard to sell products and build partnerships with clients by leading a successful sales team. If you're a natural-born leader and enjoy taking on challenges head first, this could be the position for you.This career is similar to being the team leader for a class project, but taken to a whole new level. When it comes to business, you'll need to really know your stuff. Important terms and abbreviations? You'll use them every day (even when you're not at work). The market outlook for your company's product? You'll be on top of it with news updates sent to your phone regularly. Ideas on how to market your product to prospective buyers? You'll keep a notepad by your bedside just in case inspiration strikes at odd hours.As a team leader you will direct the distribution of goods and services by assigning sales territories, setting sales goals, and establishing training programs for your company's sales representatives. You will also analyze sales statistics that your staff gathers, both to determine the sales potential and inventory requirements of products and stores and to monitor customers' preferences. Additionally, you will work with the marketing team to understand sales goals and business needs.

Salaries and Job Outlook*

2013 Median Annual Pay
Number of Jobs in 2013
Projected Growth Rate
7.4 %

Education and Training

Degrees Required:
Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration or related field Master's Degree in Business Administration sometimes preferred

If you want to become a sales manager, you will need to complete your bachelor's degree in business administration or a related field. Potential employers may look to see if you have past experience working as a sales representative, so it will help you if you've worked in sales before (such as in retail). Furthermore, if you decide you want to apply for higher-level management positions, you should consider pursuing your Master of Business Administration. Many employers will want to see that you have an advanced degree on top of your strong work experience.

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Valued Traits & Abilities

Communication Skills
Detail Oriented
Leadership Skills

Work Environment

This is a very demanding full-time position. Don't mistake this for a Monday through Friday 9-5 job. Most sales managers work long hours, including evenings and weekends. Depending on where you work, especially if you're at a large company, you will travel to visit clients, network with other sales professionals, and prospect for new business.

* Source: BLS Data - 2013