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Sales analysts help companies optimize promotional and operational efforts through the analysis and prediction of sales trends and markets. Sales analysts assess data like customer metrics, competitor information, and sales channels to determine the best methods of increasing both revenue and market share. They may provide advice to marketing departments, sales teams, and executives to develop sales targets, assess strategies to boost revenue, and develop promotional campaigns and budgets.
This is a data-driven role that requires a balance of market analysis, budget management, and industry expertise. Sales analysts tend to work closely with sales and marketing teams while providing advice and guidance to decision-makers and company leadership.
Sales Analyst Duties and Responsibilities
A sales analyst’s duties can vary based on their specific company and industry, but according to job postings that we analyzed, this role has several core responsibilities:
Analyze Sales Data
One of the main duties of a sales analyst is assessing sales data for their organization. They examine monthly, quarterly, and annual sales reports to identify sales patterns and areas for improvement, comparing actual sales data to revenue projections and expectations. Additionally, sales analysts assess market data, including competitors, to identify areas where the company can increase its efforts.
Develop Projections and Forecasts
Sales analysts use previous sales data and market trends to develop forecasts and projections. In this aspect of the role, sales analysts may develop reports showing expected sales and the potential effects of new strategies to aid in decision-making. In many cases, a sales analyst may work closely with marketing, sales, and management personnel to develop forecasts and examine the potential revenue effects of various proposals.
Guide Marketing Efforts
Many sales analysts work with marketing teams to develop promotional materials and campaigns. Using their data and research, sales analysts may identify markets to target with advertising and promotional efforts or determine how to best set the company apart from its competitors. Collaborating with marketing teams is frequently a key component of opening up new markets for growth.
Examine Company Budgets
Sales analysts assess the company's budget to guide investments in marketing and promotions. In this aspect of the role, they examine projected cash flow and compare it to actual sales results to identify divisions that are not hitting sales goals. They may also provide advice on future budget development. Additionally, sales analysts may examine operational budgets to identify business areas that are not providing a return on investment (ROI) for the company.
Present Reports to Company Leadership
Lastly, sales analysts regularly prepare reports and presentations for executives and other company leaders. These reports can include data on market performance, competitor research, and general sales trends. In the course of reporting to company leaders, sales analysts also provide advice on increasing revenue, eliminating weaknesses within the company's sales ecosystem, meeting sales goals, and improving marketing and promotional efforts in certain sectors.
Sales Analyst Skills and Qualifications
Sales analysts work with large quantities of data to identify trends and develop forecasts. Companies tend to hire analysts with at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field, along with the following skills:
- Data analysis - the ability to assess data sets and identify patterns and opportunities for improvement is the sales analyst's primary skill
- Financial forecasting - effective projection and forecasting skills are also vital in this role, as sales analysts guide investment and help companies better utilize cash and personnel
- Presentation skills - sales analysts need to present their findings, along with forecasts and projections, to executives and management personnel, so effective presentation skills are a necessity
- Team coordination - because they work with marketing and sales teams to drive revenue growth, sales analysts need to coordinate team activities and have strong leadership skills
- Communication skills - sales analysts rely heavily on both written and verbal communication to work with departments and personnel across teams and business lines
Tools of the Trade
Sales analysts typically work in office settings, so they should be able to use standard office equipment and software in addition to the following:
Sales forecasting software (Salesforce, Insightly)
Sales Analyst Education and Training
Sales analysts tend to have at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field. While specific majors may vary, coursework in business administration, finance, and marketing is necessary to prepare for the duties of this role. Many sales analysts also complete a master’s in business administration (MBA) to increase their employment prospects and gain additional expertise in sales analysis and financial administration. While there are some opportunities for on-the-job training in this role, most businesses expect sales analysts to have a solid foundation in the duties associated with the job.
Sales Analyst Salary and Outlook
While the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide salary estimates specifically for sales analysts, its data for market research analysts may provide a good starting point. The BLS reports that market analysts earn a median annual wage of $62,560. The highest-paid 10 percent earn more than $121,720 per year, while the lowest-paid workers earn less than $33,950 annually.
Employment for market research analysts is expected to grow at a very rapid pace through 2026, with the BLS predicting a 23 percent increase in jobs.
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We searched the web and found several helpful resources if you’re considering a career as a sales analyst:
find out about the most important sales metrics that impact revenue growth and capture market share
this book examines sales strategies and best practices, including how to tailor sales efforts to different customer groups
this blog post takes a look at the daytoday duties of a sales analyst, examining the various tasks of this role on a typical workday
author Anne E. Beall teaches readers effective strategies and techniques for conducting market research and driving sales growth