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Sales managers are very much like coaches for professional sports teams. They must understand that they are leading energetic, talented, driven people; however, these same people can be moody; wrapped up in their own point of view, have their pride easily hurt, and not always want to work together. Therefore, not only must a sales manager have their eye on the numbers, they also must have the leadership and communication skills to get the team working together creatively and productively. Salesmen are competitive by nature. The sales manager must keep them competing against other companies' salesforce instead of against each other. Ultimately, the sales manager must get every last drop of performance out of his sometimes tired, sometimes frustrated sales force.

There are many things that the sales manager must be able to encourage, inspire, and cultivate in the members of his sales force so that they will maximize their productivity and make as much money for their company as they possibly are able to. The sales manager keeps his sales team positive, too. A negative attitude only compounds production problems, and it can lead to very negative consequences like employee theft, as research has shown. The sales manager has to make optimists out of his team members.

The manager has to be highly influential on his or her team. He or she may need to show them the way by making some telephone calls for some of them or going out into the field with some of them. The manager always has to be exemplary, personally and professionally.



One of the most difficult traits that sales managers have to impart to or instill in his salesmen is ''savvy.'' They have to be confident in trusting their instincts with prospects, and confident in sticking to their scripts and proven sales techniques. They have to sense when to interject some humor, when to be pushy, and when to take it easy.

Sales management positions don't necessarily require any certain education. If you want to try to get a sales management job right out of college you'll need an MBA. But, the vast majority of sales managers have been promoted up from sales positions, and those jobs don't typically require even a college degree—they require aptitude. To become a sales manager, experience and demonstrated ability are what matter the most.

The average compensation for U.S. sales managers is $60,000 a year. Sales managers are usually compensated at least in part by overrides or bonuses paid out on how their sales force performs. So the sales agents' success is in the sales managers’ best interests.
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