Inside Sales Manager Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"Very Analytically Focused...
I think what is most surprising about my career is how much I have to utilize my analytical skills. With a degree in marketing I thought it would be about making commercials and doing creative. But, it is a lot more about working with numbers and making decisions." (Sales Planner; 2014)

Career: 13 years of experience, currently based in New Jersey, male
School: Studied Food Marketing at Saint Joseph's University in Pennsylvania; completed Bachelor degree in 1998

I was surprised at how underprepared I was when I entered the work force." (Sales; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Texas, male
School: Studied Liberal Arts at Texas in Texas; completed Bachelor degree in 1989

"Importance Of Values In Selecting A Career...
I was surprised at how important it is to find a boss that appreciates your interpersonal strengths and skill set and doesn't hate you for your weaknesses. Finding a career that matches your values is also surprisingly important. Career success is not just about cold, quantifiable skills." (Account Executive; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in California, female
School: Studied Business Administration at University Of Southern California in California; completed Master degree in 2005

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Sales Manager: "I enjoy helping inform customers about the new capabilities of our products. The joy I get in working with individuals and helping them become more productive. The least enjoyable part of my job is working with each of my associate's personal problems and keeping them motivated between sales projects. Also working with customers that have unreasonable expectations." (2011)

Corporate Account Manager: "The best part of the job is that there is a new challenge everyday and i meet new people on a weekly basis. The worst part of the job is not being able to make deliveries of product on time." (2011)

Chief Revenue Officer: "The best part of my job is that I get to play a key role in growing revenue for the company and the careers of people on my team. Representing our Agency and convincing people that they should trust us with their business is something I take very seriously and truly enjoy. The toughest part of my job is effecting change in our organization. We work at a company that has an established base of processes and excellence. Creating change is necessary, but scary for employees, which can make it tough." (2011)

Vice President Of Business Development: "The best part of my career is spending time with various individuals and training them on different parts of their job descriptions. I am a person that enjoys social interaction, and my job allows for this. The worst part of my career is the termination of employees. I don't enjoy this portion of my job, but is it imperative to the success of the organization. This is only done after an exhaustive coaching and counseling process, with the hope that the individuals will turn around and become great employees after the process." (2011)

Accounts Manager/Finance: "The best part about the job is that no two days are the same. The company also provides ongoing training, both on-site and off-site, for all of its employees. There are also bonuses given yearly based on employee performance. The worst part is that the hours are long, and at certain times of the year when work loads are heavy, the company will make overtime mandatory. You also have to work some weekends. These things are not necessarily bad, because you are compensated for pitching in to help the company during this time." (2011)

Director, Digital Business Development: "Cold calling is not always fun, but it is a reality. There are also times when you are dealing with a person in a position of power, but quite frankly they are an idiot! In those cases you must call upon all of your patience and make sure that you do not condescend to them. The best part as is always the case in sales is making a sale and getting that commission check. It is also gratifying when a client's campaign does particularly well and you feel like you've had a hand in that." (2011)

Sales Manager: "The best part of my job is the diversity. I have so many different duties that my job never gets boring. Working in a hotel that focuses on tourism also means that in general people are relaxed and happy to be there! The downside is definitely the hours of work and duty management. I have to work most weekends when my family members are at home. Even during my time off I have to be available which means there is little room for spontaneous activities. Also sadly, the hospitality industry doesn't pay very well." (2011)

Strategic Account Manager: "The best part of my job is that I work from my home office, unless I am traveling to customer sites, which is between 60 to 75% of the time. I also enjoy having a new challenge on every job, as no two projects, design/installation challenges, or project teams are the same. For the most part, a lot of what I do is give technical presentations in front of groups of potential prospects. It is great to have technical confidence to address a group and be able to handle "most" of the objections. What I like "least" is that in sales, every quarter the "sales" are reset to 0, so you start over again. But the challenge is what drives me to succeed!" (2011)

Account Manager: "The best part is that I can see my efforts being converted to meaningful work that helps my client run their operations or processes successfully and efficiently. Additionally, the pay is very good. The worst part is that it demands a lot of planning and forecasting and requires me to work for more than 8 hours per day quite often. It also is difficult when clients are very unreasonable and I have to appease these difficult customers." (2011)

Market Manager: "One of the best parts of my job is working for a company that I can be proud of. We do a great job of taking care of our employees as well as taking care of the environment, demonstrating what we like to think of as "Corporate Social Responsibility." I also am fortunate to work with a great team. I truly enjoy the relationships I have with my fellow employees. The thing I like least about my job are my administrative responsibilities. I must manage expenses and spend a lot of time running reports and digesting data." (2010)

Channel Sales Manager: "The best part of my job is that I get to make more money than some other types of jobs in computer companies. I also get to work with many different and interesting people. I get to know them and their companies very well. In some ways, I work for several different companies at once because I am helping my business partners be successful and they count on me for my support. I also like sales because by helping my business partners sell my companies products, I am directly making money for my company. The worst part is that I often work long hours, which takes time away from my family and things I like to do outside of work." (2010)

VP Business Development: "The best part of this job is for the most part I work from home. You have to put in a lot of time to run a small company. 12 - 14 hour days are not uncommon. Being at home allows me to do that and still see my kids in the morning and at night, eat dinner with my family, and still be able to take care of business. The worst part of the job is having to deal with disappointed or angry customers. I can understand their frustration when our product does not perform as it should, because when our stuff does not work, it causes these small companies to lose revenue. It has taken me many years to be able to take the blasts of anger that come from these people and get them beyond that to where we can begin to solve the problem and keep a working relationship." (2010)

Sales Operations Manager: "The best part of my job is planning the President's Club trip. It is an incentive trip for the salespeople who sell enough software to meet their annual quota. Part of the planning includes visiting tropical locations to choose a hotel for the trip. The worst part of my job is having to juggle many responsibilities, many of which are considered urgent by the people who ask for my assistance. There are times when I need to drop everything I am working on to make sure that something very important gets done on time. That means there are a lot of distractions to manage and it is difficult to focus on one thing at a time." (2010)

Inside Sales Fuels Manager: "The best part of the job is that I'm mostly busy and the day flies. The worst part of the job is when it is very cold and customers have problems with their diesel fuel and are not very nice. Also, when there is a storm, everyone expects their delivery today, even if they are not a customer. Pricing can be an issue also. The customer does not understand that I am not getting rich off the oil prices; I am an ordinary working woman." (2010)

District Sales And Service Manager: "The best part of my job is being able, for the most part, to determine my own schedule. While there are meetings and conference calls to attend, there are also many times when you can attend your child's events and catch up with your work later. Also, generally speaking, holidays and weekends are off. And the pay and benefits are good -- not the best, but good. Worst parts - not being able to please either your internal reports, because of dealer performance; or not being able to please dealers, because of the burdensome requirements often placed on them by the manufacturer. Also there is never a time when the job is done." (2009)

Career Background

Sales Manager

  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Video

Career Tips

I would suggest networking and getting to know people in the field before entering. You will learn a lot about the day to day tasks and better understand if it is something you will like." (Sales Planner; 2014)

"Be Prepared...
Try to gain as much real world experience while still in college." (Sales; 2013)

"Acting Classes Help...
Take as many computer courses as you you can afford. Learn as many software programs as possible. (Microsoft, Novel and Apple). Train yourself by taking speech and acting classes this will teach you to talk to people and this will help you make a better income. Network with your classmates because you will need them later in life when they will become your customers. Join as many social clubs as possible to increase your contacts. You never know which contact will lead you to your next sale." (Sales Manager; 2011)

"Communicate Closely With Your Customers...
Brush up on packaging design, be aggressive, always follow up with a customer. Let the customer know you are on top of his problem. Return e-mails, phone calls etc. Keep copious notes and catalogue your customers requirements. This way you will be sure to get the customers requirements correct. Always stay in tune with the changing trends in the market so you can show customers new innovative things." (Corporate Account Manager; 2011)

"Failure Is Part Of The Job...
Learn to be fearless. Understand that you are going to "fail" in your career. Fail on hourly, daily, monthly and yearly basis. Be prepared to deal with failure. Failure can be the best thing to happen to you as you build your career, as long as you are willing learn from it. Learn to collaborate with people. In this job, you need to be able to work with people in all different types of organizations. Learn to communicate effectively. This job is all about communication. Be it communicating with peers, employees, clients, media, etc. Being an effective communicator is of critical importance. Be a master of basic Microsoft Office programs." (Chief Revenue Officer; 2011)

"Learn About All Departments...
Take as many courses as you can on sales and marketing. These are skills that are transferable to many aspects of your future career. They not only work on getting prospects to buy a product, but they also work in interacting with others to help lead them to where you want them. When starting a career with this track in mind, start from the ground up and learn as much as you can with different departments so you can have a much more complete strategic objective in mind. Don't get caught up in your position or title, but always take the time to ask questions of the people on the front lines, and then listen to their answers." (Vice President Of Business Development; 2011)

"Numerical Skills Required...
This position requires that you have a strong understanding of numbers and reading reports. Sometimes you may be looking at several documents at once, and you will have to come to a quick resolution for the problem presented. The company goal is to try to resolve problems presented by customer's that day unless more research is needed. You should also develop strong interpersonal skills since you will be dealing with many different clients during the day. You should be able to come across as competent and professional over the phone as well as in person." (Accounts Manager/Finance; 2011)

"Stay On Top Of Your Industry...
Always be friendly, supportive and do not burn is a small business and today's competitor is tomorrow's client. Read a lot...industry news and journals and just stuff that makes you smart and interesting....people want to buy from smart, interesting people that help them do their job better." (Director, Digital Business Development; 2011)

"Success Can Start With A Low Level Job...
Get early experience in hospitality. You have to be able to cover all your bases. Learn great customer service skills when you're still young and you will be a step ahead off your peers. Keep a good record of everything you do, and make sure you can express your results in percentages. A lot of successful people in the hotel business start from the bottom. It is very common for the CEO to have started at reservations or reception, so don't turn your nose up. Try to absorb as much knowledge as you can!" (Sales Manager; 2011)

"Tips For Launching Your Sales Career...
Put yourself in a position to be successful. It is not that hard to be successful in the work place, but you have to be prepared. Having good grades gets you into a good college, and having good college grades helps with job opportunities. Early in your career, expect to put in a lot of extra effort raise your visibility for promotions, and don't burn your bridges so that internal opportunities for promotion come your way. Build your resume, and don't be surprised if it takes to have two or three jobs to get into your career "groove". Learn to network, as the best way to get your next job is not by responding to an ad. If you know the right people, and have a good reputation, they will call you." (Strategic Account Manager; 2011)

"Work On Time Management...
Manage your time very well. If you can plan your tasks and know the art of delegation and prioritization, then you will find this job very enjoyable. Effective oral and written communication skills are very important. How positively you influence your customer can dictate your performance. Project management experience is an added advantage. You must be very proficient with Microsoft programs, especially Excel and PowerPoint. Teamwork and leadership skills are a must." (Account Manager; 2011)

"Follow Up...
To do this type of job, you need to have strong written and oral communication skills. Make sure you take advantage of your writing and public speaking classes. You need to be well-organized to maintain all of the information that is required. For sales jobs in general, strong follow-up skills are a necessity. It is important that you define your customer expectations and work hard to meet them." (Market Manager; 2010)

"Know The Products You Sell...
Go to college. You need a degree to be considered for a corporate sales job. Be a good writer. So much of communicating with people outside your company (business partners and customers) is written. You must be able to communicate in writing clearly and be well understood. A misunderstanding due to poor writing could cost your company, the business partner and yourself money. Be good at math. Solid math skills are essential in sales, especially working with money and percentages. Understand the basics of how computers and computer software work. You do not need to be a technical person (most sales people are not), but you need a basic understanding of what the products do. Study business. You need to understand how companies operate so that you can explain why a product will help them in their day-to-day business affairs." (Channel Sales Manager; 2010)

"Read Between The Lines...
Don't take it personally. People do things in business for reasons that have nothing to do with who you are. Don't get too excited when things are good, and don't get too depressed when things are bad. When I got into sales, an old friend told me "If you are not a manic depressive now you soon will be" Pay attention to what your customer is telling you, and also what he is NOT telling you. Don't be afraid to say "I don't know". You'll always look better coming back with a good answer than trying to dig yourself out of a bad answer." (VP Business Development; 2010)

"Starting At The Bottom Is OK...
Focus on developing good people skills and working well with difficult people. You can't assume that just because you are qualified for a job that you will get it. You need to prove yourself to be trustworthy and start in an entry-level position." (Sales Operations Manager; 2010)

"Treat Customers Well No Matter What...
1. One tip would be to always be nice to the customer no matter how you personally feel. Treat them as you would want to be treated when calling a company. 2. Another would be to always be prepared for and open to change. The more jobs you learn in a company the better off you are. 3. Try to update your computer skills. Take Excel courses and whatever other courses you need that would benefit you at your job." (Inside Sales Fuels Manager; 2010)

"Good Sales Pros Are Organized...
First and foremost, be organized. You will deal with a lot of different subjects with a lot of different people, so organized, updated files are important. Second, be responsive. Even if you don't know the answer, be sure to let the person know who has the question that you are working on it. Third, follow up! Dealers are trying to serve their customers. You put them in an awkward position if they can't give customers the facts. Finally, be gracious. There are times it will feel like you can please no one. Stay upbeat, and continue to provide excellent service. People will be won over to you." (District Sales And Service Manager; 2009)