Case study

Sales manager — Christian Oram

Christian believes that the skills he acquired while studying for an MBA are essential to his role as a sales manager. Find out what he enjoys about his job and how his career has developed

How did you get your job?

I originally applied for an account manager role in the sales team at Nu-Heat and was then promoted from within to sales manager as a result of my performance.

What's a typical day like as a sales manager?

Varied and busy. A typical day generally involves a mixture of team support and strategic project work.

I support the productivity of the sales team by helping them to overcome barriers, and work with the wider management team to develop and deliver projects that will benefit Nu-Heat over the coming years.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I enjoy the sense of achievement that comes from supporting and managing a team of 30 sales people and helping them to hit targets, while delivering ethical sales advice and excellent customer service.

What are the challenges?

Finding the time and space to work on the long-term sales strategy can be a challenge. On a day-to-day basis, the immediate demands of customers and the sales team will quite rightly take priority, but it is also vital to plan for the company's continued future success in what is an increasingly competitive market place.

In what way is your MBA relevant to your job?

The MBA was focused around developing strategic planning and leadership skills, as well as improving communication skills and the handling of change management.

These skills are all essential in order to be effective in a senior management role, and I use these skills and techniques on a daily basis at work.

How has your role developed?

My role is becoming ever more strategic and my career ambition is to keep developing my skill-set in this area, with the aim of hopefully progressing to a sales director position in a few years' time.

What are your top tips for choosing a postgraduate course?

Pick something relevant to your role and ensure that you are genuinely interested in the subject matter. It's not always easy to juggle the commitment required in order to successfully complete an MBA while maintaining your focus on the 'day job' and any other commitments you may have outside of work.

What advice can you give to others?

Experience is key so look for opportunities to gain experience in a sales environment, and learn some of the theory behind selling.

If you can't get this experience at work then it might be worth reading up on key sales skills such as qualification, negotiation, and handling objections. You can practice your sales technique in a number of ways, even selling items on eBay or at a car-boot sale - anything which will give you a chance to learn about, and demonstrate your passion and ability to sell.

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