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Dealer Development Manager: Job Description & Salary

Are you thinking about a career as a dealer development manager? In this article, we'll look at what the job entails, education and skills required, and expected job growth, as well as provide links to some related careers that might interest you.

What Do Dealer Development Managers Do?

A dealer development manager is responsible for growing a sales territory by identifying, recruiting, and collaborating with franchise and independent dealerships. Many dealer development managers work in the automotive and industrial vehicle manufacturing industries. Dealer development managers research and identify potential open markets for manufacturers and seek out dealers to sell the product. They act as liaisons between the manufacturer and the dealership; they monitor dealer performance in such areas as sales and customer experience. Dealer development managers spend a lot of time on the road, both visiting existing dealerships they serve as well as seeking out new dealerships.

Educational Requirements Bachelor's degree preferred
Job Skills Strong background in sales, experience in training personnel, effective time-management and communication skills, knowledge of automotive or industrial vehicles
Average Salary (2019)* $77,646 (all dealer development managers)
Job Outlook (2016-2016)** 7% (all sales managers)

Sources: *Glassdoor, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

While some dealer development managers have associate's degrees, those in automotive dealer development typically need a bachelor's. Some employers may even prefer a master's. Applicants whose degrees are in business, finance or a related field are preferred.

Required Skills

Dealer development managers require considerable sales ability as they are responsible for independently seeking out dealerships to sell the manufacturer's product line. Thus, there is a considerable time investment networking with dealers via e-mail, phone conversations and face-to-face meetings with each dealership's managers. Dealer development managers also set goals for their dealerships in such areas as sales performance and customer experience and measure their progress towards those goals. This involves conducting presentations about dealer performance as well as advising dealerships that are struggling to meet their goals.

Training is also a key area for dealer development managers, as they need to instruct their new dealerships in how to set up to sell the product and how best to represent the company's brand. Dealer development managers require strong time-management skills because they work with multiple dealerships simultaneously and are required to visit each regularly to stay on top of goals, metrics, and continued training in the product line. Finally, communication skills are critical in this position, as dealer development managers work with people for much of their workday, meeting with, training and advising those in both potential and existing dealerships.

Career Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics projects that job growth for all sales managers will increase at a 7% rate from 2016 through 2026, which is as fast as all other occupations. Sales managers working in the automobile vehicle industry could expect to see 18% growth during the same time period, while those working with other motor vehicles could expect a 5% decline. The average salary for a dealer development manager is $77,646 annually, according to 2019 Glassdoor figures.


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