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How Can I Progress into Sales Management?

For those that have worked in sales for some time, the prospect of securing your first sales manager job has likely crossed your mind. Before deciding which direction to take your career in, it’s important to understand the role and responsibilities of a sales manager. The primary role a sales manager is responsible for is leading a company’s sales team. They monitor their team’s progress towards sales goals, to ensure that their productivity leads to organisational objectives being met. Sales managers are also responsible for the recruitment of new team members, as well as providing training programmes to encourage professional growth.

If you find the role of a sales manager intriguing, then you might be curious to find out exactly how you can go about taking your career to the next level and progress into sales management. Fortunately, this article will provide you with several different routes into how you can attain a sales manager job. 

Apprenticeships  

You might be in the early stages of your career, or even looking to take it in a new direction. If one of these scenarios applies to you, then you could benefit by completing an apprenticeship. There are several different levels of apprenticeships available. These range from a level 2, the equivalent to five good GCSEs, all the way to a level 7 apprenticeship, which is comparable to a Bachelors or Masters. However, most sales apprenticeships fall between Level 2 and Level 5, meaning it’s unlikely that you will secure a level 6 or 7 qualification.

Although, the nature of the apprenticeship will differ depending on the job role, sales-focused programmes will probably have some common traits. You will likely spend some time developing your customer service skills. This might lead you to dealing with inbound and outbound telephone calls, while establishing relationships with clients that will help to grow and retain business.

For a team of salespeople looking to improve their ability, there’s always the option of upskilling through apprenticeships. By developing your skillset, you will be able to take on more responsibilities. This will allow you to increase the pace of your progress, preparing you for your first sales manager job. 

University degree

There’s always the opportunity to get a sales manager job by attaining a university degree. Generally, you will study for a degree, before going onto join a company as a graduate management trainee. Some of the relevant subjects that can lead to a seamless transition into a sales career are sales and marketing management, business management and retail marketing. For jobs which require you to sell hi-tech scientific or engineering equipment, employers might want you to have a qualification in that specific field.

While, you don’t necessarily need a degree to begin your career in sales, you can benefit from having one. The precise reason why so many companies run graduate sales schemes is because they want to take advantage of the skills, knowledge and talent which graduates can bring to the marketplace.

Not only does having a degree show that you’re a well-researched individual, it demonstrates that you possess the ability to stay dedicated to a project for three years or even longer. Long-term commitment is a valuable quality to have if you’re aiming for a sales manager job. 

Apply directly

If you have been working your way up the career ladder for some time, then you could try applying for a sales manager job directly. To be considered by employers you will need a good level of experience in sales and a proven track record of achieving targets. Generally, employers will pay more attention to and prioritise your market knowledge and experience over your academic qualifications. For people that have experience designing or manufacturing the products that a company is selling, there’s a chance that you could be considered for a specialist sales management job. 

There are several ways that you can go about finding sales management opportunities. You can consider reconnecting with professionals in your network to discover companies which have vacant roles. By doing this, your contacts might be able to refer you to a job. During this type of exchange, your contact will inform you of the job opportunity, while introducing your qualifications to the employer. Another way to land your first sales manager job is to search for vacancies on job websites. Here, you can go through the role description of each job listing, before submitting an application to the company directly. Before looking to leave your company too quickly, it’s worth checking whether they hire sales managers from internal employees.

Sales training

A sure-fire way to ensure that you are prepared for your first sales manager job is to complete a form of management training. Through sales training, you can develop the relevant sales manager skills that will help you stand out amongst your competition.

Pareto provide a number of training courses that can accelerate your progression into sales management. One which provides candidates with a direct route into sales management is the Level 5 Operational Manager Apprenticeship. This level of sales training is uniquely designed to provide candidates with an in-depth understanding of how to lead and manage people, build relationships and negotiate effectively.  

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