Sales, whether locally, nationally or around the world, are the one thing virtually all businesses need to function. An effective and efficient sales force can mean the difference between a business's success and failure. Sales management includes formulating sales goals by analyzing sales statistics and marketing trends and then hiring, training and leading sales professionals to meet those goals. The high visibility and importance of the position can tag sales managers for rapid advancement into the executive ranks.
Who succeeds in sales management?
According to an article by Dave Kurlan, of the Objective Management Group, Inc., studies shows that individuals who are successful in sales professions generally have a drive to achieve success, can think on their feet, are able to handle rejection, have good people skills, and are open to new ideas.
In turn, top sales managers are those who are able to recruit and coach a great sales team and who can then inspire the team to motivate themselves, Lance Cooper, president of SalesManage Solutions, writes on his blog.
Campus and online sales management degree programs
Most employers hire sales management candidates who have bachelor's or master's degrees in business with a marketing specialization, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Highly specialized or technical industries may also require sales managers to have an undergraduate degree specific to the industry. Campus and online business degrees are available at every educational level, and many colleges and universities also offer post-graduate certificates for business professionals seeking sales management expertise:
- Associate degrees provide a basic introduction to business, laying the groundwork for a bachelor's degree with a sales and marketing specialization.
- A variety of bachelor's degrees in business administration and technical management are available with sales and/or marketing concentrations. For example, an online Bachelor of Science in Information Technology with a new media and Internet marketing focus might be the perfect gateway for those interested in the latest technologies.
- Master's degrees in business or Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees with a marketing/sales focus offer courses such as sales force leadership and strategies, sales planning and analysis, delivering superior customer value, managerial marketing, business negotiations, and global marketing.
- Doctoral degrees in the field generally attract academics or senior-level professionals and place an emphasis on research and writing.
Excellent potential for high salaries in sales management
The BLS reports a 2010 mean annual income of $114,110 for sales managers. Those in the financial sector--investments, securities and commodities - received the highest wages from $160,740 to $168,120. By far, the largest number of sales managers are in general and operations management at 24,820 out of 319,300 total, with automobile dealers in second place at 18,990.
Sales and sales management are critical to every business operation at the local, national and global levels. Convenient online sales management degree programs facilitate studying and networking with students and faculty not only across the country but around the world--an important plus for sales management careers as companies enter the global marketplace in larger numbers every year.
Sales management at a glance
- Salaries: The 2010 mean annual income for sales managers was $114,110, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Professional statistics: The BLS reports that there were 319,300 sales managers employed nationwide in 2010
- Regions: New York was the state with highest pay for sales managers in 2010, at $164,250. California employed the most sales managers in the nation with 54,470.