The Vital Role of Strategic Sales Management in Business
Increasingly, the movement in business is toward specialization. While a general education in business is a requirement, more students are seeing the value of entering degree programs that provide expertise in specific areas.
Examples of such degree programs include undergraduate and graduate business administration degrees with a concentration in strategic sales management.
Why strategic sales management? Because it equips graduates with the skills to take on managerial roles in a sales operation. In addition to overall business knowledge, students leave the program ready to take on jobs that call on them to develop and implement successful sales plans.
There are many advantages to earning a degree with an emphasis on strategic sales. They include the following.
One area that a strategic sales management program emphasizes is customer relations. In the digital age, that involves both one-on-one contact as well as creating relationships with customers through social media. Sales managers needs to understand the dynamics and opportunities presented on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. All have tremendous influence on consumer perceptions and attitudes toward a product or service.
Developing customer relationships also involves analyzing consumer behavior online, including how they interact with your website. By having expertise in analyzing this behavior, strategic sales managers can segment customers into specific demographics and create marketing strategies that target them.
A solid understanding of strategic sales management also sets up a business person with the skills needed to run their own company. While every aspect of running a business is important, marketing and sales are the heart of every operation. Expertise in creating successful sales strategies puts a business owner ahead of the competition. It also increases their chances of sustaining long-term success.
A sales manager needs to have the skills to manage an entire sales team. That includes setting targets and working to develop strategic plans for individual sales people and the entire team. Sales managers also must evaluate the performance of a sales team and have the management skills needed to get the best effort from employees.
Organizations are always looking for valuable sales leaders. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 7 percent increase in the number of sales managers by 2026. They also are well compensated: the BLS reports that the median salary for sales managers reached $117,960 in May 2016.
Some graduates from a strategic sales management program work as consultants. In this role, they are hired by organizations on a contract basis to provide guidance in the management of a sales team and development of both short-term and long-term sales strategy.
In many cases, sales consultants are brought in when a business is undergoing substantial changes on its sales team. Consultants may temporarily lead the sales department, guiding them through the transition.
Sales managers may also specialize in either “business to business” or “business to consumer” sales. The former involves selling services to other companies. That can range from IT services to industrial equipment sales. Business to consumer involves direct, retail sales of a product or service to customers.
In all these cases, expertise in strategic sales management is the key. Earning an undergraduate or graduate business degree with a concentration in that area can open the doors to some of the most challenging but lucrative jobs in the business world.