What is a Sales Analyst?

What is a Sales AnalystSales analysts are responsible for the collection and analysis of sales data. They do this in order to increase sales productivity and customer satisfaction as well as reduce sales barriers and low revenue levels. They create standardized and customized reports that analyze everything from quantitative data to sales funnel flows to future needs forecasts. Sales analysts make an average salary of $56,621 per year, according to PayScale.

Primary Job Responsibilities

Sales analysts collect and analyze data to evaluate existing and potential clients, markets, products, and business opportunities. They research and evaluate economic, competitor, market, industry, and customer growth trends and conditions. One of their standard duties is to collect and analyze data to evaluate monthly and annual sales goals, quotas, and forecasts. They develop and maintain electronic systems to track and predict seasonal demand, industry shifts, and customer buying changes. In order to do this, they may analyze seasonal orders by SKUs to determine which items have excess or insufficient quantity levels. They may adjust product forecasts to accommodate promotional activities, consumption trends, advertising campaigns, and marketing changes to prices.

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.

Required Education

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.

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 Wal-Mart, 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.

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.

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