A sales leader is responsible for organizing, managing and motivating a company's sales force. Senior leaders interview, hire and train other salespersons, developing leads, making schedules and assigning territories. Sales leaders even do plenty of selling themselves, with most receiving a base salary along with a commission--or a percentage of what has been sold.
Sales leaders hold important jobs, as their performance plays a direct role in a company's success and profitability. They are employed in a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, wholesale, retail and automobile. Sales leaders must ensure that their staff understands all the sales mission and has a firm grasp of their company's products and services. Most have to demonstrate how the products and services are used to potential consumers.
Sales leaders must possess strong leadership skills, keeping their employees working as a team and making sure morale stays high. They need to be strong communicators who are driven, energetic, driven, organized and professional. They also must be personable and creative in reaching out to potential clients. Most sales leaders need at least basic computer and math skills, too--allowing them to total sales during a particular time frame and keep track of new accounts. Along with those things, sales leaders have to take an optimistic approach to their jobs, along with resiliency and a strong work ethic.
Requirements to become a sales leader vary based on their industry and individual company. The majority need to have received at least their associate's degree, with the occasional company requiring a bachelor's degree. Most senior leaders have studied subjects such as advertising, communications, marketing, business and administration. The majority have also had to work their way through the ranks, spending time as everyday salespersons or members of advertising or marketing departments before being promoted into a supervisory position.
Jobs for sales leaders in most industries should see steady growth for at least the next decade. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for sales supervisors is expected to increase 5 percent from 2008 to 2018. Those with a college degree and prior experience should have the best opportunities, the BLS reported.
Since sales leaders earn much of their salaries via commission, wages tend to vary by industry. For instance, the BLS reported the median annual wage for sales leaders in the retail industry earned a median salary of $35,310 in May 2008, compared to $68,100 for those in the non-retail industries.
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