Sales Manager

Sales Manager

The sales manager, also called sales manager or sales director, generally has a few years of field experience as a sales representative. At the head of a team of salespeople or sales representatives, the sales manager's objective is to develop sales of a range of products or services in a given geographical area and/or a category of customers (individuals, professionals, key accounts). 

Function and Missions of the Sales Manager

Sales plan 

The Sales Manager's objective is to develop the company's sales. He/she has various tools and strategies at his/her disposal, starting with his/her team, which he/she is responsible for recruiting, training and managing (federating teams, motivating, monitoring).

He/she is responsible for applying the company's sales strategy, which he/she has established in conjunction with his/her management team: pricing policy, qualitative and quantitative sales objectives, margin levels, targets, incentives (bonuses and gifts) and budget.

He/she establishes sales objectives for his/her employees and analyzes their results. He/she organizes regular meetings to review the situation with them and to implement actions to optimize sales.

Customer relations and competitive analysis

The sales manager develops his customer portfolio and builds loyalty. He/she fills out and enriches his/her excellent knowledge of the market by conducting regular competitive analyses. According to the data collected, he/she organizes or updates his/her commercial action plan in order to propose offers adapted to his/her clients. 

He/she maintains close links with any major accounts in his/her customer portfolio by proposing tailor-made or almost tailor-made commercial offers.

His/her customer portfolio can be national, international or regional, so he is often on the move and always negotiating. The sales manager has real stamina and a very strong resistance to stress.

His/her functions vary a lot depending on the size of the company that employs him: he can be alone without a team for an SME and work in close collaboration with the General Manager, or he/she can be at the head of several sales force teams and spend much more time managing these employees than on the sales field.

Qualities and skills of the Sales Manager

The Sales Manager combines a perfect mastery of management and commercial action: 

  • Personal management skills: listening, empathy, diplomacy
  • Proximity management: Availability, team spirit
  • Organization and rigor
  • Commercial qualities: tenacity, interpersonal skills, dynamism, sense of service
  • Strong analytical skills, particularly in terms of figures (sales, turnover growth, etc.)
  • Mastery of professional English is mandatory on international markets.
  • High work capacity due to frequent and long travels
  • Skills in customer relations: building loyalty, conquering and satisfying customers
  • Knowledge of databases to feed KPIs (key performance indicators) 
  • Mastery of digital tools corresponding to the activity (CRM)

Diplomas and training to become a Sales Manager

A minimum of 2 years of higher education is required to become a sales manager. To reach the responsibilities of sales manager, several years of successful experience are generally required. Recruiters prefer to hire graduates from business schools with a minimum of 5 years of higher education, renowned for their commercial and managerial training.

  • Courses at Bac +2/3 level:

BTS, Bachelor's degree or professional license in the fields of sales, technical sales, marketing (negotiation - customer relations, sales, marketing techniques, etc.)

  • Courses at Bac +5 level: Master and Master's degree

Master's degree in the fields of sales, marketing (negotiation - customer relations, commerce, marketing techniques...)

Business school diploma and Specialized Master's degree from a business school.

Salary and career development

The position of Sales Manager is not accessible to beginners, because it is necessary to demonstrate experience and the qualities expected for such a challenging position, the salary levels are therefore high. 

The sales manager receives a salary ranging from 45 to 80 K€ gross per year. It is established according to his responsibilities and of course, his results. If he/she progresses to a position of sales director, his/her salary can reach up to 150 K€.

Most of the time, the remuneration is made up of a gross annual salary + a variable salary composed of bonuses and annual bonuses which can often double the basic amount.