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How Do I Become a Channel Sales Manager?

K. Kinsella
K. Kinsella

A channel sales manager is responsible for overseeing a particular area of a firm's sales activity. Sales and service channels come in many varieties ranging from online portals to retail stores. Those wishing to become a channel sales manager normally must have some experience. Additionally, some companies require managers to have college undergraduate or postgraduate degrees.

Some companies sell products directly to consumers in which case the firm's internal sales staff or the company website are the channels through which customers can purchase goods. Other companies sell goods through retail stores or distribution companies. A major firm may employ several different sales managers to oversee each channel while a small firm may employ a single manager to oversee all of the firm's sales channels. Channel managers must handle departmental budgets, hire and terminate sales staff and work with the marketing department to make strategic decisions about promoting products. Typically, the channel manager also negotiates supply and distribution deals with partner firms that include retailers.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

In many instances, an individual who plans to become a channel sales manager will obtain an undergraduate degree in business management, commerce, finance or a similar topic of study. Some colleges offer non-degree vocational classes in sales and management and many firms employ managers who have completed these vocational courses as well as individuals who have completed degrees. Major companies sometimes require applicants for manager jobs to have completed an advanced degree in sales management or business administration. Many companies rely heavily on online marketing in which case someone planning to become a channel sales manager may have to complete a degree in information technology (IT) or computer science rather than a business related degree.

College graduates normally have to spend some time working as salespeople before transitioning into manager roles. Some firms have several tiers of supervisors in which case a graduate may start work as a departmental supervisor before moving into a deputy manager role and then a sales channel manager job. In some instances, firms require job applicants to have a certain number of years of industry specific experience while other firms allow managerial candidates to substitute academic credentials for actual job experience.

Someone hoping to become a channel sales manager will normally seek a managerial role within the channel in which they have previously worked. People who handle online sales tend to move into channel management roles tied to websites while people with retail sales experience tend to move in retail channel sales roles. Managers who oversee multiple channels normally need to have some experience with working in each channel. Some companies require managerial candidates to complete in-house training courses before taking on management roles. In some instances, several internal candidates attend a training course and the firm selects the best candidate at the end of the class.

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