Sales manager

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Barry Turner is sales manger for a company manufactures and sells trailer tents and folding campers.

What does your job involve?

I'm involved in sales and marketing, servicing dealers and organising exhibition stands. I produce an annual brochure with information, photos and diagrams of all the trailer tents and folding campers we make. This is used to promote the products and give the detailed information to existing and possible customers.

The company has stands at exhibitions and shows in different part of the UK. I organise and set up the exhibition stands, monitor the work of our sales team throughout the exhibition and oversee the dismantling of the stands at the end of the event.

Who are the dealers you work with?

They are the retail outlets throughout the UK and part of Europe we have approved to buy our products and sell them to their customers. I'm in regular contact with their owners or managers, answering questions, suggesting solutions to any problems and servicing new orders.

Some of the dealers are very large camping and caravanning retail outlets, but many are smaller, family-run businesses.

Do you spend most of your time in the office?

I probably spend about 90 percent of my time in the office. I have a team of four people working with me, plus three others I deal with regularly in our service department in relation to repairs needed to products, customer warranties, and insurance. The rest of my time is spent at exhibitions and visiting dealers and suppliers.

What do you like best about your job?

The variety each day really appeals to me. When I arrive in the morning although I've got plans for jobs to do, I never know what's going to happen.

Extremely bad weather in a holiday area, for example, can men damage to our products. In these instances, I have to quickly find out about each customer's warranty and insurance cover, then organise the best way of getting repairs done as quickly as possible.

What challenges do you face?

Dealing with staff, dealers and customers all at once can be very demanding! It can be hard to prioritise the work sometimes.

I also work longer hours when the brochure is being produced, or when I'm at exhibitions, which can mean travelling quite long distances. Deadlines for getting new photos taken, printing the brochure and getting exhibition stands ready, usually all come at once – but it's satisfying to see the end products.

What particular skills and qualities do you need to be a sales manager?

It's very important to be flexible and able to think on your feet. The camping trade season runs for about seven to eight months of the year, so it is really hectic during that period. You have to enjoy working under pressure, be very organised and a good planner.

What about the future?

I'm always ambitious to move forward in my career. I take an interest in other similar types of companies and their development, so am aware of new opportunities.

Barry's route to his job as a sales manager

  • HNC in Mechanical and Production Engineering.
  • Working on a production line.
  • Present job.

Barry's sales manager tips

  • A basic knowledge of the type of products you're interested in selling is very useful.
  • It's an advantage to have work experience/holiday jobs involving selling.
  • Any people/customer service experience is important too – get used to talking to different people and listening to their comments and opinions.

Sales manager related jobs

  • Buyer
  • Customer services assistant/manager
  • Marketing manager
  • Merchandiser
  • Sales assistant
  • Sales representative

Salary of a sales manager

  • The basic salaries for sales managers are often fairly low, but are increased by commission on sales made.
  • Starting salaries can range from £20,000 to £30,000 depending on the type and size of employer and location in the UK.
  • With experience, sales managers can earn from £25,000 to over £40,000 and senior sales managers/heads of departments in large companies can earn up to £70,000 or more.

How to become a sales manager

  • Most sales managers are promoted to the job after gaining experience working in the sales or marketing department of a company, or another company in the same line of business.
  • Useful degree and higher national diploma (HND) subjects include business studies and marketing.
  • The Chartered Institute of Marketing offers an Online Certificate in Professional Sales, Advanced Certificate in Professional Sales Management or Key Account Management and Intensive Diploma in Professional Sales.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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