Sales supervisors work in many different types of organizations. For this reason, the salary of sales supervisors varies greatly depending on the type of professional sales organization that they’re employed with. Large sales retailers generally need many supervisors and will pay their supervisors more handsomely than a smaller retailer that needs less responsibility from its supervisors.
The median salary for sales supervisors is $35,130. The highest 10% of supervisors earn nearly twice that amount: $61,970. Commissions are often offered to supervisors, therefore increasing their productivity and pushing their salaries much higher. Non-retail supervisors make an average of $68,100 per year. The most successful non-retail supervisors make a comfortable $136,180 per year. The salaries of sales supervisors fluctuate so much that it’s not possible to pinpoint an exact median salary, but the ranges available indicate that earning more as a sales supervisor will require more skilled sales performance in order to reach higher salaries.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Job Description and Outlook
Working in sales can be a stressful job. You’ll be expected to supervise the work of a sales team that usually consists of clerks, cashiers, customer service personnel, engineers, and wholesale sales reps. You’re the captain of an entire team of people that are responsible for selling the products and services offered by your employers. It’s your responsibility to hire a competent staff that will encourage the growth and success of the company you represent. You’ll need to lay out work schedules and delegate responsibility to your subordinates.
The sales staff is your army but the people that you’re protecting are the customers that buy from your staff. It’s your job to make sure that customers have a satisfactory purchasing experience when dealing with your staff. You’ll need to analyze the needs of customers and instruct your staff on how to best approach and deal with customers. When you see members of your sales staff underperforming or treating customers in an unsatisfactory way, it’s your duty to correct them and remind them about proper sales techniques.
In many cases you’ll be the one dealing directly with customers. You must respond to complaints from customers. After a complaint, you must address the issue with the member of your staff that inspired the complaint.
Your behind the scenes work will be important as well. You might have to take care of some accounting and budgeting duties for your department. Non-retail sales supervisors typically oversee salespeople that sell insurance policy, industrial goods, or advertising products, among other things. For these supervisors, it’s your job to see that the staff knows the services they’re selling and understands how to respond to customers and ensure the success of the service.
This field is incredibly competitive. Applicants with experience or a college degree will have the best chance at landing a position. Be aware that this occupation is growing, but it is growing at a slower pace than the national average. Being more highly qualified than other applicants will be necessary to secure the kind of job you want.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Training and Education Requirements
Experience is a big part of landing a good job as a sales supervisor. There are supervisors that obtain their jobs because they work their way up within an organization. They might begin a career as a cashier, move up to higher positions, and then eventually find themselves managing an entire team of sales personnel. This is why it’s very important to learn as much as you can during your time as a cashier or part of a sales team. To learn how a team operates and the mentality of those under a supervisor is to help yourself later on when you’re in charge of your own team. You’ll know how the sales staff thinks and feels because you’ll have been part of that staff.
Training for sales supervisors usually includes courses in computer skills, management, marketing, sociology, and psychology. All of these subjects help you to understand the technical duties of the job, as well as the subtle psychological techniques that accompany selling services and products. Although a formal education isn’t always necessary to obtain a job as a sales supervisor, it never hurts your chances of getting the job you want. This is a highly competitive field and education always gives you an edge against others seeking a job in the same field.
Computer skills are a huge part of successfully performing your tasks as a sales supervisor. Any computer training will prove helpful to you. Even if it’s not required of you to get a job, you’ll need to fine-tune your computer skills as you continue to work as a sales supervisor. New programs and accounting tools will always be part of the job and it’s your duty to keep up with the latest technology.
New sales supervisors are almost always required to complete training courses offered by their employers. When you complete this training, you’ll receive a certification from the specific employer. This does not convert to other positions you might seek out later on.
The primary professional organization of sales supervisors is called the National Retail Federation. This is by far the most commonly joined of the professional organizations.