Career Development

What Does an International Sales Manager Do?

Find out what an international sales manager does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as an international sales manager.

International sales managers are responsible for managing the international sales efforts of their company. They oversee all aspects of this process, from identifying potential markets and clients to developing strategies for selling products or services abroad.

International sales managers may also be tasked with overseeing other aspects of their company’s international operations. This might include things like coordinating logistics, establishing partnerships with local suppliers or distributors, or even handling customer service issues that arise in foreign countries.

International Sales Manager Job Duties

An international sales manager typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Monitoring competitor activity and industry trends in order to identify opportunities for growth
  • Meeting with clients in person to finalize contracts, discuss product features, and ensure that all parties are clear on terms and conditions
  • Researching new markets and potential customers to determine which have the biggest potential for the company’s products or services
  • Setting pricing and margin targets in consultation with upper management to ensure profitability in target markets
  • Reviewing bids from vendors that supply materials needed to create products
  • Communicating regularly with suppliers to ensure that deliveries of materials are on time and according to specifications
  • Negotiating contracts with foreign companies to establish new business partnerships or expand existing relationships
  • Planning and overseeing the production of goods for export, including selecting suppliers and ensuring that production runs smoothly
  • Managing inventory levels to ensure that the company has enough product available to meet demand

International Sales Manager Salary & Outlook

International sales managers’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the size and industry of the company. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of commissions and bonuses.

  • Median Annual Salary: $85,000 ($40.87/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $173,000 ($83.17/hour)

The employment of international sales managers is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Demand for products and services offered by these managers will depend on the growth of global trade. As companies continue to expand into new markets, they will need more international sales managers to help them navigate the complexities of doing business in other countries.

Related: International Sales Manager Interview Questions and Answers

International Sales Manager Job Requirements

To become an international sales manager, you may need to have the following:

Education: Most employers require international sales managers to have a bachelor’s degree in a field such as international business, international relations, international economics, international studies or a related discipline. Some employers may hire candidates who have an associate’s degree or a combination of education and experience.

Training & Experience: International sales managers typically receive on-the-job training in their roles. This training may include learning the company’s products and services, the company’s sales process and the company’s computer systems. The training may also include learning about the company’s clients and the international sales manager’s role in the company’s sales process.

International sales managers may also receive training in their previous roles. For example, a sales representative may receive training in sales management.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications enable professionals to prove their qualifications to current and future employers. Sales managers can earn certifications to gain more theoretical knowledge of their responsibilities, test their professional skills and further advance their career.

International Sales Manager Skills

International sales managers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication skills: Communication skills are essential for sales managers, as they are responsible for conveying information to their team and clients. Effective communication skills can help you convey information clearly, answer questions and solve problems. Sales managers also use communication skills to communicate with clients and customers, as well as suppliers and other business partners.

Negotiation skills: Negotiation skills allow you to work with suppliers to secure the best prices for your company. You can also use negotiation skills to help your company secure favorable shipping rates and other contractual agreements. Sales managers often use negotiation skills to help their sales team reach sales goals.

Problem-solving skills: As an international sales manager, you may be responsible for overseeing the entire sales process, from initial contact to final delivery. This can include managing customer service issues, supplier issues and other challenges that may arise. Your ability to identify and solve problems can help you and your team meet sales goals and maintain customer satisfaction.

Analytical skills: Analytical skills are the ability to assess situations and make informed decisions. Sales managers in international roles may need to make decisions about which markets to target, how to approach those markets and what strategies to use. Having strong analytical skills can help you make informed decisions that can help your company grow.

Leadership skills: Leadership skills can help you motivate your team and encourage them to achieve company goals. You can use your leadership skills to help your team grow sales, develop new strategies and improve their performance. Leadership skills can also help you guide your team through challenges and motivate them to find solutions.

International Sales Manager Work Environment

International sales managers typically work in an office environment, although they may travel frequently to meet with clients or potential clients. They may work long hours, including evenings and weekends, to meet deadlines or to take advantage of business opportunities in other time zones. International sales managers may also be required to travel to trade shows and conventions. The work can be stressful, and international sales managers must be able to handle multiple tasks simultaneously and be able to make quick decisions. They must also be able to work well under pressure and be able to adapt to changes in the marketplace.

International Sales Manager Trends

Here are three trends influencing how international sales managers work. International sales managers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Growth of the Digital Economy

The digital economy is growing at a rapid pace, and this is having a significant impact on the way businesses operate. In order to stay competitive, companies need to be able to adapt to this new landscape by developing a strong online presence and using technology to improve their operations.

Sales managers can use this trend to their advantage by developing strategies that focus on digital channels. This includes developing an effective website, creating a strong social media presence, and using tools such as email marketing and search engine optimization to reach potential customers.

The Emergence of the B2B Digital Channel

The emergence of the B2B digital channel is a trend that sales managers should be aware of as it has the potential to change the way business is done in the 21st century.

As more and more businesses move towards a digital-first approach, sales managers will need to develop skills in areas such as SEO, content marketing, and social media marketing. These are all areas where sales managers can play a key role in helping their company achieve success.

More Focus on Customer Experience

Customer experience is becoming increasingly important for businesses, as they realize that it is what keeps customers coming back. As a result, sales managers need to focus on providing excellent customer service and ensuring that customers are happy with their purchases.

This means that sales managers need to be able to understand what makes customers happy and how to provide them with what they want. They also need to be able to communicate with customers effectively and resolve any issues that may come up.

How to Become an International Sales Manager

A successful international sales manager career requires a combination of hard and soft skills. Hard skills include knowledge of the market, products, and competitors; ability to speak multiple languages; and experience in cross-cultural communication. Soft skills are equally important and include strong communication and negotiation skills, as well as the ability to work effectively with people from different cultures.

To be successful in this role, you also need to be able to manage your time effectively and stay on top of changing trends and developments in the industry.

Advancement Prospects

The international sales manager is responsible for the sales and marketing of products and services to customers outside of the company’s home country. They work closely with other departments within the company, such as the marketing, research and development, and production departments, to ensure that the products and services they are selling are of the highest quality and meet the needs of their customers.

As an international sales manager, you will need to have a strong understanding of the global market and the various cultures that your customers come from. You will also need to be an excellent communicator and have strong negotiation skills.

With experience, you may be able to move up to a senior management position within the company, such as director of international sales or vice president of sales.

International Sales Manager Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we’re looking for an experienced International Sales Manager to join our team and help us continue our global expansion. In this role, you will be responsible for developing and executing sales strategies in new and existing international markets. You will work closely with the marketing team to create and implement marketing plans that support sales goals. You will also be responsible for managing a team of international sales representatives, setting targets and motivating them to achieve results.

To be successful in this role, you must have previous experience managing international sales teams and be familiar with different cultures and business practices. You must be an excellent communicator and have the ability to build relationships with customers from all over the world. You must also be highly organized and able to manage multiple projects simultaneously.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Develop and execute sales plans to achieve assigned targets for new business, revenue growth, and market share expansion in international markets
  • Research and develop strategies and plans which identify marketing opportunities, direct marketing, and new business development initiatives
  • Manage a team of sales professionals, developing their skills to maximize performance and ensure achievement of individual, team, and company objectives
  • Monitor customer, competitor, and market activity and trends, providing input to the development of short- and long-term plans to proactively address changes
  • Work closely with other members of the management team to develop and implement programs, policies, and processes related to international sales
  • Develop and maintain relationships with key customers, partners, and influencers in international markets
  • Negotiate and manage contracts with customers, distributors, and other third parties
  • Plan and oversee logistics for international shipments, ensuring compliance with all applicable laws and regulations
  • Prepare reports on progress against plans, budgets, and targets for senior management
  • Identify and resolve issues which may impede achievement of objectives
  • Perform other duties as required or assigned
  • Travel internationally as needed

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, or related field
  • 10+ years sales experience, with at least 5 years in a management role
  • Proven track record of achieving sales targets
  • Strong understanding of international markets and trade regulations
  • Excellent negotiation skills
  • Fluent in English; additional languages a plus

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • MBA or other advanced degree
  • Experience living or working abroad
  • In-depth knowledge of one or more foreign markets
  • Strong network of contacts in target market(s)
  • Ability to travel up to 50%


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