On the Job
Sales managers direct and coordinate the sales of goods and services for businesses.
Sometimes when a new store opens in your area, it's a big affair. Maybe you've been waiting for your favorite clothing chain to open a store in your town. Or, maybe it's an electronics outlet you've been hearing so much about. Stores like this are carefully planned and managed. Often, it took years of research to determine if opening a new store is a good idea. Sales managers are vital to this process.Sales managers oversee the activities of their sales staff. They set up training programs, assign salespeople territories, and set their sales goals. They monitor salespeople's sales statistics. In addition, managers evaluate salespeople's performance and suggest ways to increase their sales. Some sales managers oversee other sales managers and their staffs at the local or regional level.
Sales managers spend a lot of time reviewing and analyzing information. They need to know if the company is selling enough of their products. Thus, they review sales records, expenses, and projected sales. They often determine the initial price of products and services. Managers may oversee the budgeting, bookkeeping, and shipping departments so that they receive accurate records. If sales are low, managers may increase the amount of advertising they do. They talk to department heads to plan advertising campaigns. They also set discount rates.
Some sales managers work with customers. This is more likely in small companies. They talk to customers about their product needs and advise them about what to buy. They also resolve customer complaints about products or services. In addition, sales managers represent their companies at trade shows. They talk to customers and promote their products. They also monitor the products their competitors are selling.
In some organizations, sales managers are in charge of setting up more franchises. A franchise is like a copy of a business. Thus, a successful hamburger restaurant may have a large number of franchises around the country. Sales managers talk to business people who are interested in running one of these franchises. Managers advise them of the policies and procedures they must follow. Before setting up franchises, sales managers analyze the marketing potential of the new stores. When new stores open, sales managers inspect them to make sure they are similar to the parent business. They also make sure the new stores meet safety codes.
Some sales managers are in charge of the research and development of new products. If they import products from other countries, managers make sure they meet American product standards. Similarly, when selling items to other countries, managers make sure they meet the product standards of those countries. When businesses establish stores in other countries, sales managers oversee these stores.
The following list of occupational tasks is specific to this career.
- Resolve customer complaints regarding sales and service.
- Evaluate the work of salespeople and suggest ways to improve sales.
- Monitor customer preferences.
- Train salespeople and assign them sales territories.
- Visit people who are interested in setting up franchises of their businesses.
- Set prices and discount rates.
- Talk to customers about their product needs.
- Oversee other sales managers and their staffs.
- Direct, coordinate, and review activities of salespeople and clerical staff.
- Review records and reports to determine profits. Prepare budgets.
- Oversee branch stores in other countries.
- Confer with marketing managers about advertising campaigns.
- Advise franchise owners about the rules they must follow.
- Prepare company budgets.
- Represent company at meetings to promote products.
- Analyze marketing potential of new store locations.
- Direct product research and development.
- Make sure products meet the standards of the countries that will buy them.
- Inspect stores for compliance with safety and security codes.
People in this career perform the following list of tasks, but the tasks are common to many occupations.
- Convince others to buy goods or change their minds or actions.
- Establish and maintain relationships.
- Communicate with supervisors, peers, or subordinates.
- Get information needed to do the job.
- Communicate with people from outside the organization.
- Guide, direct, and motivate subordinates.
- Develop and build teams.
- Make decisions and solve problems.
- Develop goals and strategies.
- Use computers.
- Resolve conflicts and negotiate with others.
- Think creatively.
- Coordinate the work and activities of others.
- Recruit, interview, or hire others.
- Organize, plan, and prioritize work.
- Update and use job-related knowledge.
- Schedule work and activities.
- Provide advice and consultation with others.
- Teach others.
In a typical work setting, people in this career:
- Have a high level of social interaction. They constantly talk to customers, salespeople, and clerical staff.
- Are somewhat responsible for the outcome of others' work.
- Often are placed in conflict situations when customers are unhappy with their products.
- Sometimes deal with angry or unpleasant people.
- Communicate with salespeople and customers daily by telephone, e-mail, or in person.
- Write letters and memos on a weekly basis.
- Almost always work indoors. May work outdoors if managing outdoor dealerships or distributors.
- Work in a vehicle most of the time. Sales managers travel by vehicle when visiting local offices.
- Work somewhat close to salespeople, such as when sharing office space.
- Must be exact in their work. Errors could result in serious financial losses for their company.
- Repeat the same tasks and physical activities.
- Make decisions on a daily basis that strongly impact the company. They rarely consult with a supervisor before making decisions.
- Rarely consult a supervisor before setting tasks and goals for the day.
- Are highly competitive with other companies that sell similar products.
- Must meet strict deadlines daily and weekly.
- Generally have a set schedule each week.
- Usually work more than 40 hours a week.
- May travel to local, regional, and national offices.
Physical Work Conditions
In a typical work setting, people in this career:
- Sit for long periods of time.
- Speak clearly so listeners can understand.
- Understand the speech of another person.
- See details of objects that are less than a few feet away.
- See details of objects that are more than a few feet away.
- Use fingers or hands to grasp, move, or assemble objects.
- See differences between colors, shades, and brightness.
- Determine the distance between objects.
- Hear sounds and recognize the difference between them.
- Make quick, precise adjustments to machine controls.
- Move two or more limbs together (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while remaining in place.
- Coordinate movement of several parts of the body, such as arms and legs, while the body is moving.
People in this career frequently:
It is important for people in this career to be able to:
It is not as important, but still necessary, for people in this career to be able to:
Source: Minnesota Department of Education.