Step Forward Assistant Sales Manager

Start date: August 2016

Location: London

Full time

About us

The Challenge is a national charity that was founded in 2009. Our mission is to connect and inspire people to strengthen their communities. We bring together local people across all generations, ethnic groups and incomes to build a stronger society. 

Step Forward is a school leavers’ programme run by The Challenge that recruits a diverse group of 18 year olds, places them into entry level jobs, and gives them the training they need to develop into professionals.  This is a unique opportunity to join a fast moving, rapidly growing organisation.

About the role

We are looking for an energetic and creative people leader to support our efforts to enrol young people in our programmes. This is a fantastic opportunity to be part of an entrepreneurial and innovative organisation, grow in a dynamic and supportive environment and contribute to an exciting programme for social change.

With support from a Sales Manager (SM), the Associate Sales Manager (ASM) will help to lead a team of Engagement Co-ordinators (ECs) to find and place 17-18 year-olds onto Step Forward within a specific geographical location.

Working with the Sales Manager, the ASM will be responsible for establishing, strengthening and maintaining high quality, long lasting relationships with senior stakeholders (including Head teachers, Deputy Head Teachers, Heads of Sixth Form and teaching staff) within schools and colleges across North/South London. The ASM will develop these relationships in order to secure meaningful engagement between schools/colleges and Step Forward, to encourage meaningful and retentive relationships.

With support from the (SM), the ASM will lead a team of 3-5 staff, which could include a mix of experienced and newly (ECs)

Reporting to the SM, the ASM will lead a team of 3-5 staff to find, select, assess and place 18 year-olds onto the Step Forward programme. It represents a great opportunity to build on people leadership skills, hone existing systems skills and to bring creativity to a sales approach.

This is a great opportunity to develop coaching and leadership skills; ASMs will have a positive impact on the sales approach to engage young people.

The ASMs primary responsibilities will be: 

  • Building and maintaining effective relationships with schools, Head teachers, Deputy Head Teachers, Heads of Sixth Form and teaching staff
  • Exciting and persuading young people to sign up to Step Forward through presentations in assemblies, PSHE classes, follow up events and follow up phone calls
  • Assist young people and their parents through the sign up process from initial expression of interest to turning up for the programme, primarily through phone calls
  • Ownership and responsibility of a geographical area
  • Working as part of a team towards individual and team targets
  • Coaching and mentoring members of the team and opportunities to train new starters
  • Contributing on impactful local projects, delivered on time to a high quality with notable improvements on prior year versions
  • Building a network of advocates in and out of schools and colleges by establishing broad relationships with multiple points of contact such as Head teachers, Deputy Head Teachers, Heads of Sixth Form and teaching staff
  • Analyse data to report on performance, and to develop and implement strategies for current and future stakeholder relationship management
  • Continual relationship maintenance through e.g. attending assemblies or parents evenings with the Sales and Marketing department to evaluate the service we are providing to schools/colleges
  • Be the local expert on relationship management and support the wider sales team through training and best practice sharing
  • Line manage 3-5 Engagement Coordinator and delegate work to them whilst supporting their professional development and overseeing their workload

Work alongside the Sales Manager to:

  • Define and a local strategy for a geographical area to work in conjunction with the wider recruitment strategy
  • Recruit, train and coach sales staff and support their professional development
  • Line management and motivation of Sales staff through an annual campaign
  • Set and monitor performance targets and adapt processes to ensure delivery of ambitious goals
  • Secure the sign up, assessment, matching and retention of the full contingent of participants of the Step Forward programme
  • Meaningful input into sales strategy, working alongside the Sales Manager

Person Specification

Essential skills

  • Highly organised people-person
  • Ability to analyse and interpret quantitative (e.g. sales results) and qualitative (e.g. market research) data to help inform onging sales strategy
  • Good verbal and written communication skills in group or one to one situations
  • Gravitas with senior stakeholders – including, Head Teachers, Deputy Head Teachers, Heads of Sixth Form and teaching staff.
  • Experience managing complex processes successfully (experience with Salesforce and/or Excel beneficial)
  • Ability to drive a team towards achieving ambitious targets
  • Ability to guide and support team through the full sales process
  • Strong and persuasive presentation skills
  • Experience mentoring or leading a junior team


  • Professionalism: Strong work ethic, time keeping, responsiveness, ability to manage a variety of relationships to a high level
  • Energy and initiative: A can-do attitude with an enthusiastic and persuasive personality
  • Persistence and determination
  • Flexibility: Adjusts work schedules, plans, prioritises as required to fulfill overall objectives
  • Ability to think and plan ahead and be reactive within the team
  • Empathy/understanding: able to adapt your approach to suit customer needs
  • Team work: Collaborates across region and department in pursuit of common goals
  • Humble: A positive, helpful attitude at all times in what is a busy and challenging role
  • Calm under pressure Strives for continous improvement by seeking and sharing feedback appropriately and respectfully
  • Learns from their mistakes and always commits to performing at their best

Desirable skills experience

  • Sales experience
  • Knowledge of sales processes & associated tactics
  • Experience working with Excel and/or Salesforce
  • Business development experience
  • Experience with schools, young people or education sector

Dates, location, salary and benefits

  • Interviews will be held during the week commencing 15th August
  • Start date ASAP
  • Based in Waterloo, London
  • Permanent contract
  • Salary range: £22, 000 – £24, 000
  • We are proud to offer an attractive benefits package including contributory pension, Simplyhealth cash plan, Ride 2 Work, childcare vouchers, season ticket travel card loan etc. to eligible employees
  • We are recruiting for two positions

To apply

Please send your interesting, relevant and easy-to-read CV to harriet.drake@the-challenge by the 9th of August. Also, on one side of A4 and in no more than 400 words, please:

  • Summarise what you think are our key messages in promoting Step Forward to school leavers
  • Share insights on how you would manage a junior sales team

Only applicants who have the right to work in the UK or have a valid visa or work permit for a minimum of 6 months at the time of application will be considered for this role.