What is a National Sales Manager?
A National Sales Manager is responsible for ensuring that a company’s sales objectives across all regions in the country are met. This role requires the flexibility to work long and unconventional hours and being accessible to clients and employees during evenings and weekends. Additionally, a National Sales Manager must meet with the sales departments across the country and attend conferences and trade shows, which requires frequent traveling.
This is a senior position that involves supervising the entire sales team of the organization. To become a National Sales Manager, candidates must have extensive experience in sales, and typically work their way up from being Regional Sales Managers. Any company interested in increasing their profitability by selling services or products to consumers can benefit from hiring a National Sales Manager. These professionals are employed in many different industries, including, but not limited to auto, real estate, insurance and medical. Although the projected demand for this position depends on the industry in which they are employed, The Bureau of Labor and Statistics states that 10,800 annual jobs should be created through 2024, reflecting a 5 percent increase for all Sales Managers, including National Sales Managers.
National Sales Manager Duties and Responsibilities
As National Sales Managers are the leaders of the entire sales force, which can amount to hundreds of employees, they often have massive and varied responsibilities. We checked out several online job postings to identify the following core National Sales Manager duties and responsibilities.
Oversee National Sales
The main goal of a National Sales manager is to meet or exceed projected sales targets; however, that single task requires a lot of effort. Based on past sales and future total sales goals, they have to set sales objectives for individual departments across all regions. They have to create a working sales strategy and monitor that all staff members are following it. They must update monthly, quarterly and annual forecasts, and take efficient measures to address poor sales results.
The National Sales Manager is responsible for leading the entire sales force; however, the majority of their communication is directly with the Regional Sales Managers. These leaders recruit and screen sales professionals; once hired, they have to provide them with orientation and training, and continuously oversee them to make sure they are meeting sales targets. National Sales Managers provide staff performance reviews where they discuss and offer strategies for employee improvement in certain areas, or recognize and reward subordinates for their efforts and accomplishments.
Ensure Supply and Demand
To be able to land sales, National Sales Managers must ensure that there is sufficient supply and demand of the goods or services. Increasing demand can involve setting competitive pricing and any providing discounts, as well as recording data about sales trends in individual territories. Working with distributors and dealers is imperative to establish proper displays, knowledge and overall strategies of the business.
Market and Advertise Products
Although marketing and advertising are not the core responsibilities of National Sales Managers, they often work in unison with these departments to maximize sales. They provide relevant information from sales activities to marketing teams that help with crafting productive marketing strategies. They ensure that consistent brand identity is upheld in all correspondence and campaigns, and liaise with other executives to identify new markets and customers.
Provide Customer Service
National Sales Managers must be able to provide exceptional customer service, as they are the face of the company’s sales team, and responsible for the clients’ overall satisfaction. Although the Regional Managers handle most customer interaction, National Sales Managers typically make themselves available to important clients. As such, they may be in charge of landing large accounts, or resolving customer complaints.
National Sales Manager Skills
An effective National Sales Manager will be both business and customer oriented, having the drive and ability to generate sales. Although experience in the sales industry is a must, these professionals must be able to train and motivate others to sell at optimum levels.
Core skills: Most National Sales Manager job openings required the candidates to possess these core skills:
- Persuasion skills to be able to convince clients to purchase goods and inspire employees to succeed
- Negotiation skills to create the most profitable deals
- Strong management skills to lead employees across different territories
- Effective communication skills to both listen and speak to all types of individuals
- Business acumen to determine and enforce beneficial strategies to run the sales team
Advanced skills: Having the following advanced skills can help set your resume apart from the other applicants and advance in this field:
- Strong Information Technology (IT) skills
- Technical experience of working in a given field
- Marketing or advertising experience
Tools of the trade: Before applying to a position as a National Sales Manager, make sure you are able to use these tools:
- CRM software
- Microsoft Office Suite applications
- Sales performance management tools
National Sales Manager Q & A
We interviewed Brent Thomson, a former National Sales Manager for several financial organizations, to provide you with insight from an actual professional in this field. Currently, Brent is a founding member of Peak Sales Recruiting and co-author of Sales Recruiting 2.0, How to Find Top Performing Sales People, Fast. He contributes insights on sales team management and hiring on the Peak Sales Recruiting Blog, and advises and coaches tech sales VPs and CEOs on how to build and operate winning enterprise sales forces.
What are some of the core duties performed by a National Sales Manager?
- Work with the senior management team to set revenue and sales goals on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis
- Create and implement a comprehensive sales training program within a certain time frame that will keep your sales team at the forefront of the industry and help each salesperson to reach their goal
- Become a mentor to the sales team and nurture relationships with each associate in order to help them achieve their goals
- Work with senior management to devise and implement innovative go-to-market strategies
- Create new programs to meet the needs of our channel partners and help them exceed revenue expectations with our products
- Ensure accurate reporting on lead generation and sales efforts, including pulling data and metrics to provide detailed information about pipeline status
- Lead (daily, weekly, monthly) sales meetings to motivate your workforce, providing new and innovative training and information on an ongoing basis
- Travel to meet with potential and existing clients, as well as field sales staff
What challenges does this position face?
- Rejection: You need to be able to handle getting constant rejection from prospects
- Competition: You need to learn how to compete with other salespeople
- Hiring Challenges: Hiring the right people to achieve aggressive growth goals. Learning how to properly manage them.
- Motivating a team
What skills does this position use most?
- Ability to hire high performing salespeople
- Ability to coach sales reps to higher performance
- Ability to accurately forecast future sales volumes
- Ability to analyze, establish and execute a pre-sales strategy
- Skilled at building rapport, opening doors, and understanding business requirements of senior decision makers
- Excellent qualification skills
- Skilled at providing market recommendations and customer feedback to the executive team
- Ability to elicit needs from key decision makers
- Ability to influence others
- Ability to manage, optimize and identify opportunities with partners, members, process enhancement and program growth
What type of person is successful in this job?
The type of person that is successful in this type of job is driven, ambitious, competitive, optimistic, resilient, analytic, a self-starter, independent, entrepreneurial, solution-oriented and influential.
National Sales Manager Salary
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that Sales Managers, a category that includes National Sales Manager, make a median yearly salary of $113,900. The highest-paid professionals can earn $187,200 or more, while the lowest paid make about $54,500. The three states where National Sales Managers make the highest median salaries are New York, Delaware and Virginia, where they earn $172,200, $152,900 and $146,000, respectively.
National Sales Manager Resources
There are a multitude of online resources to help you learn more about what it takes to become a National Sales Manager, and what you can expect from this position. We found the most useful and informative websites, blogs and organizations in this field, and included them below.
On the Web
The Sales Management Association – This organization offers development tools for sales managers in various industries across the globe.
The Sales Management Blog – Named one of the top 50 sales blogs in 2014-2015 by Top Sales World, founder Steven A. Rosen of STAR Results covers ways for National Sales Managers to be more productive, better leaders and better salespeople.
Linda Richardson’s Blog – Linda Richardson, author of New York Times best-selling books, Perfect Selling and Sales Coaching—Making the Great Leap from Sales Manager to Sales Coach, shares her insights on sales in this blog.
@NSNHQ – NSN is an organization whose objective is to meet the professional and developmental needs of sales and sales management professionals.
@jose_garde – An expert in the sales field with over 46,000 followers who tweets helpful articles about increasing sales potential.
@SalesSupportNow – A group of business owners who provide sales management training.
Sales Management Executive – A group dedicated to bridging the knowledge gap allowing sales management executives to thrive.
Inside Sales Management – A group where inside sales managers share their best practices.
The Institute of Sales Management – The official Institute of Sales & Management LinkedIn account.
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