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How to be a sales manager

This week Salma Sodawala, senior consultant for design, technical, production and sales at Henry Fox Recruitment, tells you how to work your way up to a sales manager position.

“A sales manager can work their way up the career ladder a number of different ways. They could develop through the store environment, through the wholesale sales path, or by transferring across from a more head office function like production, although this is the less common route.

Training and development relies on a few factors depending on the company and its size. If you are considering a career in sales, often a FMCG [fast moving consumer goods] background is an excellent place to start. This tends to give more formal and structured training which instils excellent practices from the beginning. Many companies offer continual on the job training working closely with mentors and managers to develop your skills and ensure you are continually hitting seasonal and annual targets. Some companies prefer a more formal qualification and will encourage external training, while others may rely on actually sending a person out into the field to slowly learn their client base from the grass roots up. Again it varies depending on the nature of the product and how structured the business is.

To be a successful sales manager you must have passion, drive and tenacity, as not every door will open on the first attempt. Employers will be looking for someone that is willing to go the extra mile to obtain the business and who has excellent relationship building skills to form and maintain close partnerships with their customers. A strong head for numbers is also required to analyse sales performance, manage budgets and forecast for the next season. As a sales manager the role can be extremely rewarding, particularly when winning new business and achieving new milestones with existing accounts.

Salaries range from £55,000 to £75,000, depending on the size of the business and if the role covers the UK and Ireland, or [if it entails] a global remit with a car plus bonus.”

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