We have recently caught up with a sales manager within the automotive industry. They kindly shared their experience as a sales manager, their hopes for the future and an overview of what their job roles consists of on an average day.
Why did you choose to pursue a career in the automotive industry as a sales manager?
The Automotive industry is something I was introduced to from a young age. My family has an interest in motorsport which passed to me, even leading to me competing in some professional racing. It was always a natural path for me to work with cars in some way, so I decided to look into Engineering. Whilst studying this in Birmingham, I took a part time sales job in a toy shop, and quickly found that I really enjoyed interacting with people.
Meeting new faces and learning about different ways of life was really interesting to me, and that started my love of sales!
After graduating from University, I took my Sales and Automotive knowledge and combined them. My success in sales quickly moved me forward to a management position, where I am now able to learn and develop alongside my team, who teach me as much as I can teach them.
What courses/qualifications have you completed to be in your job role now?
I studied Motorsport Engineering, which gave me a stepping stone into the Industry. Then I have completed a number of Sales qualifications for the companies I worked with. The two most recognised would be BMW and Audi Sales Accreditations.
What has been a highlight of your career so far?
In my current role, I have led a team to rapidly grow a new arm of a start up company. When we hit 1 million pound profit, this felt like a huge achievement and was certainly my highlight so far.
Have you faced any challenges throughout your career?
Yes! My biggest challenge has been the step into management at a relatively young age.
Finding the right way to manage Individuals with more life and industry experience than me was very tough. I am lucky to work with amazing people, but negotiating the correct management methods can be tricky.
What do you do on an average day in your role?
9:00am – Start of the day. Settle in to work and respond to any urgent issues or emails that may come up.
9:30am – Sales meeting. Bring the whole sales team together and run through plans and targets for the day. It is important for me to be aware of what the team is up to, so I can help where needed.
10:30 – Ops check up. Anything urgent would be tackled at 9, but this time is what I use to look at the next day’s jobs and make sure everything is on course to run smoothly. The sales team will start to sell at this point giving me the opportunity to talk to other departments.
11:30am – Sales assistance. In this time, I will assist the sales team with any issues or deals they are trying to close. There are always challenges that come up and it is vital that we deal with them ASAP to keep customers happy and bring in more business.
12:00pm – Account Management. I still have my own clients from when I was selling which I always check up on and touch base with. I love this part of the day as I can catch up with them all which is why I became a salesperson in the first place.
1:00pm – Lunch. I am very keen to ensure me and the team get a full lunch break. Sales can be a very taxing and frustrating job, so having downtime is key. We usually eat together and talk about anything other than work. This recharges the batteries for the afternoon.
2:00pm – SALES. This is always our best selling time. We are B2B sales, so we find this is a great time for meetings and outreach. We will have a certain focus for different days, often switching between new business and growing our current accounts. I will often get stuck in as well as this is what I love. But generally, putting deals together for the team. This part of the day is exciting!
4:00pm – We stop any outbound contact and focus on getting back or replying to any emails or calls. I don’t like waiting a day for a response so I make sure we don’t take a day either. It is also a great time to catch up with everyone and see how they are getting on. A lot of the team or myself will be returning from meetings and travelling back at this time.
This would be a generic day, but Sales can vary so much. I will often meet with our big clients who are based all over the UK which can be a full day. We will also have a number of forecasting meetings with all departments as an example. It is rare that a day goes exactly to plan but that’s why we enjoy it.
What are your hopes for the future of the automotive industry?
I hope the industry modernises. The way it all works is very old school and the reputation it gets mirrors that.
Tesla is a great example of a step in the right direction with technology leading the way. The discussions about the industry advancing are happening, I just hope it gets put into action.
What is one thing you would like to have known before starting your career?
There is no one right way to do things. Everyone has a different style and no matter what you are told, you can succeed in your own way.
I was always told I MUST do this and MUST do that. But in experience I learnt to take inspiration from others, not copy them.
What kind of skills/characteristics do you feel you need to have in order to work as a sales manager in the automotive industry?
People Skills. Learning how to understand people and change the way you come across to suit the person you are speaking to.
This is the biggest characteristic that helped me. Also, patience and resilience. There are often stressful and tough months, you need to have faith that you will come through it and not get frustrated; this will only make things worse.
Would you recommend this job to someone who wants to have a career as a sales manager?
Yes! It is challenging but the sales will always give you that buzz when a deal is closed or a target is hit. It takes the right kind of person to be successful, but if you are motivated then you can achieve. Sales is very rewarding!
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