What is a Sales Analyst?
Primary Job Responsibilities
Sales analysts review sales performance data against commercial customer data systems. Many national retailers allow sales companies to access their product sales data. Based on the information they gather, sales analysts recommend action plans to resolve sales issues, adjust field inventories, promote certain products and streamline supply chain, merchandising, or promotional activities. They may analyze in-stock product variances against customer demand history and preferences in order to recommend and implement strategies to increase the sales of key products while maintaining high levels of in-stock to meet demands.
There generally aren’t any degrees in sales analysis, but there are majors in math, statistics, accounting, and business analytics. Students may also personalize their major by taking specific classes that will help them become a sales analyst. These students should take as many math, technical, and computational courses as possible. They should study business statistics, which involves probability distribution, decision analysis, and testing methods, as well as accounting, which will cover the bookkeeping cycle and financial statements. Students should take classes on corporate finance, so they can learn about cash flows, income risks, asset structures, and operational analysis.
Students may also consider taking a class on managerial finance, which will introduce them to financial concepts like valuation, forecasting, strategic planning, capital budgeting, and risk management. Students should take a class on sales management so they can learn about the building of customer relationships, loyalty programs, and relationship management programs. Studying management information systems will help future sales analysts understand what information business leaders need to make decisions, analyze production, and evaluate performance. Students will learn how sales data can be used to achieve operational excellence, improved decision making better competitive advantages.
Sales analysts can come from all walks of life, but truly, those with certain skillsets are much more likely to exceed in this type of career. One such skill that’s incredibly useful to today’s sales analyst is that of analytical thinking. Ultimately, this job role is all about critical analysis, and a strong inclination for analyzing a wide array of statistical facts and then, subsequent outcome possibilities, is crucial.
Like in many other career paths, communication is also key in this path. Sales analysts find themselves in regular communication with analytics-seeking clients, their customers, and a whole bevy of others in addition. Being able to accurately absorb what is communicated to them as well as accurately broadcast info determines a significant area of their overall professional efficacy.
Good computer skills can make the job of the sales analyst much easier to excel in. Word processing capabilities are high on the list, while spreadsheet and database abilities also rank highly. In addition, most sales analysts will also need to hold good aptitude in the use visual presentation apps and software.
Adaptability is yet another key skillset those in sales analysis must utilize. This can mean the ability to regularly switch tasks and reprioritize, or it can mean the ability to switch between team-based activities and independent work without much advance notice. Multitasking is also a regular call of the position that is much more manageable when the worker is adaptable.
Although there are numerous other skillsets needed for upper-level success in this career path, strong ethics is one more noteworthy tool workers here should have. By having strong work ethic, the sales analyst will be equipped with a strong drive to deliver results when difficult circumstances may provide notable resistance. They will also be able to prove trustworthy if ethics-challenging dilemmas come into play.
Certifications Sales Analysts May Need
Many sales analyst job descriptions list a preference for industry certifications. Certifications are a voluntary step beyond a college degree. Sales analysts with certification prove to employers that their skills are up-to-date. Which certifications benefit sales analysts? IBM offers the Certified Sales Analyst credential to employees who exhibit mastery of data analytics tools. Becoming a Certified Sales Analyst involves passing a short, 10-question test and submit five case study analyses. The International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) provides the Certified Business Analysis Professional title to individuals with at least 7,500 hours of experience. Qualified analysts must pass the 120-question, 3.5-hour CBAP exam at a proctoring center. Individuals might also pursue the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) or Professional in Business Analysis (PBA) certification.
How to Land a Sales Analyst Job
Bachelor’s degrees graduates with competitive data analysis and forecasting skills can apply for sales analyst jobs. Entry-level sales analyst jobs typically only require one to two years of experience. Fulfill this prerequisite by completing a paid or unpaid internship. Popular companies for sales analysis internships include Walmart, Bosch Group, Apple, Oracle, Nielsen, and Microsoft. After graduation, tailor a one-page resume for sales analyst jobs. Review sales analyst job descriptions and add keywords or skills to the resume. Expand on the resume by writing a unique cover letter about experiences and goals. Prepare for interview success by reviewing common sales analyst interview questions. Brainstorm smart responses to questions like “What is your process for analyzing sales data?” Have concrete examples in mind of times when your sales analysis positively increased business profits.
Job Outlook for Sales Analysts
The U.S. Department of Labor classifies sales analysts in the bigger market research analysis category. In May 2018, employment statistics projected much faster-than-average growth of 20 percent for sales analysts. Before 2028, the total number of market research analyst jobs will surpass 821,100. That’s roughly 139,200 new Big Data openings nationwide this decade. What’s driving this huge wave of sales analysis positions? Businesses are increasingly needing sales data to shape their marketing campaigns. Sales analysts can give companies an edge over competitors by learning how to boost sales. More corporations have adopted data-driven strategies to succeed. Sales analysts with strong quantitative skills in statistics are the most in-demand. California, New York, Florida, Texas, and Illinois employ the most sales analysts.
Average Sales Analyst Salary Potential
In May 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a mean annual wage of $71,570 for the 678,500 market research analysts, including sales analysts. This is equivalent to an average hourly salary of $34.41. The lowest 10 percent of sales analysts received $34,350 median pay. The top 10 percent of sales analysts brought home a median $122,630 income. Most sales analysts made between $46,800 and $89,580 annually. Sales analysts at consulting firms had average earnings of $68,770. Computer systems design firms provide a mean sales analyst salary of $77,830. Software publishers compensate sales analysts with a $93,360 median wage. The highest-paid sales analysts work at aerospace manufacturing companies for $118,190 on average. New Jersey is the top-paying state for sales analysts to enjoy $91,360 mean income.
Similar Business Careers to Consider
Sales analyst job descriptions sound quite similar to several other data-oriented careers. For example, operations research analysts use statistics to gather intel about business problems and forge effective solutions. Management analysts pore over company data to find strategic organizational changes that boost productivity. Budget analysts track business spending data to recommend better allocation of current funds. Portfolio analysts monitor growth and loss data on collections of financial investments to keep clients informed. Risk analysts apply data analytics for determining the safest investing decisions that boost revenue. Ratings analysts compile data on third-party companies to figure out the probability of them paying off debts. Job analysis specialists have a unique HR role using data to identify the right roles for employees.
Related Professional Organizations
Those looking forward to working in sales analytics and those already in such a role can benefit greatly from some affiliation with some of the professional organizations out there which professionally represent or closely work with sales analytics professionals. The following represent some of the key organizations geared in this way.
The Sales Association is a professional organization devoted to the entirety of the sales-based professional industry. Here, those working in relevant areas of the sales field can pursue certification, a benefit-laden association membership, and a whole range of other resources to help facilitate vocational greatness in the field. This organization also offers up-to-date job listings in the field, numerous sales-based publications, events throughout the year, and more.
National Association of Sales Professionals
The National Association of Sales Professionals, or NASP for short, is a leading organization just for sales professionals of all kinds. Here, a notably wide array of resources is made available to all in search of them including educational programs, publications, and certification opportunities, professional coaching resources, interactive sales assessments, and more. Membership is another valuable possibility for those interested, and those who go on to become members of NASP can look forward to involvement in one of the largest salesforce communities in the world, career opportunities, vocational development programs, and a lot more.
North American Association of Sales Engineers
Sales engineers are a type of sales analyst who help connect consumers with specific products and service providers through the use of sales analyst techniques and other, similar approaches. The North American Association of Sales Engineers is the leading representative force behind these types of sales professionals. For those currently or soon to be working in sales analytics, there is much to gain from an affiliation with this organization. Here, such sales pros can find opportunities for career networking, access to valuable events, educational resources, and more.
National Association of Women Sales Professionals
For all of the women in the sales industry today, including those in sales analytics, the National Association of Women Sales Professionals, or NAWSP, offers a great opportunity at professional organizational affiliation. NAWSP was founded in 2016 by esteemed sales professional Cynthia Barnes and has rapidly grown ever since, now representing a sizable force in the industry. While non-members are still able to reap many benefits from the organization, those enrolled as full members have much to gain. Such members-only benefits here include networking capabilities with over 15,000 professional women sales pros, training and professional development courses that are designed just for women, mentorship opportunities, advisory services, and much more.
National Business Development Association
The National Business Development Association, also known as the NBDA, is an organization devoted to representing those in the business world who work in the capacity of generating business for their employers, and sales analysts fall squarely into this area of expertise. The NBDA is a relatively young organization, but its influence and stance in the industry is well-respected and strong. Non-members are welcome to explore many of the organization’s vast array of resources, but members gain even more benefits such as access to the highly-respected BD Certification Program, partnership accessibility, various coaching programs, sponsorship opportunities, and more.
Finally, the National Sales Network represents yet one more professional affiliation sales analysts can seek out today. Founded in 1992, this organization is a non-profit with a mission of enhancing the careers of anyone working in the sales industry. Here, affiliates can seek out educational resources, access to many valuable events, sponsorship opportunities, current job opportunities, and more. Additional perks await anyone who decides to take the next step and become an enrolled member.
Anyone who wants to become a sales analyst will need to have the ability to deal with business problems involving many variables, few facts, and irregular situations. They should have good oral and written communication skills as well as the ability to apply intuitive logic to carry out detailed proposals for customers. Sales analysts may spend most of their time sitting in front of a computer, but they will also be regularly speaking and presenting before groups of clients, managers, and employees.