The sales profession can be highly rewarding, especially for those who acquire the leadership skills required to lead sales teams and work cross-functionally with finance, marketing and the C-suite. An MBA can be the academic key to attaining the required skills to ascend from top salesperson into a leadership role.
Sales Manager Responsibilities
According to O-Net, the daily responsibilities of a sales manager include advising customers on technical and procedural issues, supervising employees, resolving customer problems, conferring with organizational members to accomplish work activities, and approving expenditures.
A quick perusal of open sales manager positions on Indeed confirms the need for these and related managerial skills. Job descriptions commonly seek candidates with managerial abilities, including planning and organization, communication, financial and analytical. Increasingly, such positions require some level of familiarity with technology, data, analysis and reporting — all of which can be learned in a managerial MBA program.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which shows a median annual income for sales managers of $124,220, as of May 2019, provides a similar list of skills a sales manager must bring to the table:
- Analytical skills: The ability to think analytically is needed to collect and interpret complex data to target the most promising geographic areas and demographic groups, and determine the most effective sales strategies.
- Communication skills: Good communication is imperative for working with colleagues and customers, so sales managers must communicate effectively to various constituents through multiple channels.
- Customer-service skills: Knowing how to provide customers with great service is essential when making a sale. Sales managers must listen and respond to the customer's needs.
- Leadership skills: Evaluating how the sales staff performs and develops strategies to meet sales goals depends largely on the sales manager's ability to lead others.
The Value of an Established Network and Networking Experience
To be successful in sales, whether as a salesperson or manager, one must be an effective networker and have an established web of professionals through which to build leads. One of the reasons for high attrition in sales is that salespeople are often put under so much pressure to quickly build a stream of leads through a limited network that they inevitably fail. In the incubation chamber of an MBA program, students learn effective networking techniques without the pressure of meeting sales quotas.
In addition, an MBA provides valuable networking opportunities through professors, peers, university contacts, and other resources that can prove invaluable throughout a sales career. The network offers sales professionals more avenues for building a client roster. Even more important, as a sales manager, the experience gained through business school networking, as well as the developed network itself, are both vital assets to any sales team.
Fitchburg State University Provides the Sales Managerial Training Employers Require
The Fitchburg State University Master of Business Administration in Management online program provides training in these areas through courses in strategic management, marketing management and managerial decision making, among others. These courses and the professional relationships students develop in the program provide the confidence and capabilities graduates need to reach their sales career aspirations. Just ask May 2019 graduate Sean Giovacchini. "It definitely helps to focus and have a degree like this because it shows that you studied a certain topic in depth. … I wanted to go for an MBA to open other options."
Learn more about Fitchburg State's online MBA in Management program.
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