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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.