What’s it all about then?
As a Sales Manager you’ll lead a team of sales staff working towards agreed targets selling particular food products or possibly a wider range of products in a specific geographical area.
You’ll need to be a good planner and organiser and able to motivate through demonstrating your own skills and enthusiasm.
Your team could be selling to the major retailers or smaller networks of grocery shops.
What might I be doing?
It’s very likely that you’ll handle the major customers yourself in order to ensure that they enjoy the best relationship possible.
You’ll be responsible for reporting back to senior company management so you’ll make sure that your team our hitting their targets through analysis of their work and outputs.
You’ll also have to stay up to date with what your competitors are going so that you can keep your company ahead of the pack; this will mean collecting and collating feedback from your customers.
You’ll also recruit, train and motivate your staff to make sure that they work hard and achieve their targets for sales which you’ll have agreed with them.
At this level you will also work closely with marketing and new product development staff as well as production to make sure that orders proceed smoothly and new products are introduced effectively to customers.
What will be expected of me?
Normally you’ll be working fairly standard hours but this could vary from customer to customer depending on their requirements and issues.
As a Sales Manager you will also have to attend conferences and trade shows on behalf of your company.
Your company may sell into foreign markets so you might expect a certain amount of travel to meet with customers and prospective customers; as well as this you may want to monitor your team as they work so overnight stays away from home should also be expected.
Of course you will need a full driving licence for a job such as this.
What can I expect?
You can expect a varied routine in this job as you will be the conduit between your team of sales staff and the various internal departments of your company.
You will also need to be a confident and capable communicator who ensures that all relevant information is shared and understood.
Naturally you will be expected to write reports and understand budgets so these are important skills to think about as well.
What about the pay?
You might expect to start on over £20,000 per year plus commission depending on your company and your level of experience coming into the job of sales
More experienced sales managers can earn between £25,000 and £55,000 and top salaries can be over £70,000 a year.
Most companies offer a basic salary with a bonus or commission scheme, which can vary widely depending on experience and the industry or market sector. A car or petrol allowance and expenses are often included in the salary package.
What qualifications do I need to get in?
You will need proven experience in sales, with a good record of achieving targets.
Once you reach management level, most employers will consider your sales and management experience, market knowledge and track record to be more important than your academic qualifications.
When you’re working in food though a degree or other food related qualification will be a definite advantage for you.
The Institute of Sales and Marketing Management offers a number of qualifications such as
- Level 4 Award in Managing Responsible Selling
- Level 4 Award in Managing a Sales Team
- Level 4 Award in Finance for Sales Managers
- Level 4 Award in Operational Sales Planning
What about further training?
Although you’ll be an experienced sales person when you take the job, your employer will normally provide training in their products and sales administration systems.
You could work towards more senior qualifications as above from ISMM or other awarding bodies.
Alternatively you should consider post-graduate level courses such as an MBA or MSc which will augment your sales expertise with a broader qualification; this could be your first step on the ladder towards a senior management position.
Anything else I might need to know?
Yes, as many local food manufacturers develop their business into export markets around the world, you might consider learning a second language which will help you to do your job even more effectively!