Sales Managers

Sales managers set goals, assign sales territories, set quotas and develop training programs for their salespersons. Sales managers work in virtually every industry. Those in sales management evaluate sales statistics to determine sales potential and inventory requirements and to learn about customer's preferences. A sales manager strives to maximize profits.

In large companies that have multiple products a sales manager often manages regional and local sales managers and their staffs. Those in sales management positions also offer strategies and techniques to sales representatives in order to improve their sales performance.

Often, small companies have just one sales manager, however some large companies have managers to oversee each level of the sales operation. A large company might have regional sales managers, general sales managers and home office and overseas sales managers. Some of the job titles are director of sales, regional sales manager, vice president of sales, district sales manager and sales and marketing vice president.


  • Oversee the distribution of products to customers
  • Make performance evaluations of sales representatives
  • Resolve customer complaints about sales and service
  • Determine prices and discount rates
  • Analyze reports and operations records to project sales and profitability
  • Develop budgets and approve budget expenditures
  • Study customer preferences to determine the focus of sales efforts
  • Consult with department heads on various subjects

Job Characteristics

Sales managers should have good motivational, organizing and interpersonal skills. They should also be effective leaders and be able to persuasively communicate with others orally and in writing. Those in sales management often work more than a forty hour week. Typically their work is based on a set number of projects and not a set number of working hours.

Employment Outlook

Employment for sales managers is expected to increase by 10% from 2006 to 2016. Those with a college degree, a high level of creativity, excellent communication skills and related experience should have the best job opportunities. Salaries vary substantially, however, the median annual earnings in 2008 for sales managers was $97,260.

The size of their sales territory is an important factor in determining their salary. Many managers achieve bonuses equal to 10 percent or more of their salary and some are given stock options. Regarding the popular industries, the industry with the highest median annual earnings for sales managers is professional and commercial equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers.

Experienced, successful sales representatives that have good leadership abilities have opportunities to advance into a sales manager position. Some sales managers began as sales representatives or started out in advertising, marketing or product management. In addition, some sales managers become top executives.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

Some employers prefer candidates that hold a bachelor's or master's degree in business administration with an emphasis on marketing. In highly technical industries such as electronics and computer manufacturing, employers typically seek candidates that have a business and a technical degree.

Helpful college courses include, management, economics, business law, statistics, mathematics, finance and accounting. Computer classes are also helpful. In addition, an internship while the candidate is attending school can be highly beneficial.

In partnership with colleges and universities, a number of marketing and related associations sponsor local or national management training programs. The courses provided include sales management evaluation, brand and product management, international marketing, interactive marketing, telemarketing and direct sales, promotion and market research.


Major Employers

The major job providing sectors are wholesale trade, retail trade, finance and insurance, and manufacturing.

Schools for Sales Managers are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Sales Managers Skills

Below are the skills needed to be sales managers according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

Skill NameImportanceCompetence
Active Listening44
Critical Thinking3.884

Sales Managers Knowledge

Below are the knowledge areas needed to be sales managers according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

Knowledge AreaImportanceCompetence
Sales and Marketing4.76.13
Customer and Personal Service4.485.39
English Language4.324.68
Administration and Management45.26
Education and Training3.354.65

Sales Managers Work activities

Below are the work activities involved in being sales managers according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest).

Work ActivityImportanceCompetence
Selling or Influencing Others4.75.87
Thinking Creatively4.364.91
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates4.355.17
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships4.355.82
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work4.335.68

Sales Managers Work styles

Below are the work styles involved in being sales managers according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest).

Work StyleImportance

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for
Sales Managers

Listed below are the 10 largest metro areas based on the total number of people employed in Sales Managers jobs , as of 2018

Metro AreaTotal EmploymentAnnual Mean Salary
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim29,620 $128,980
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward12,570 $154,700
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell11,640 $145,820
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington9,740 $145,520
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale9,010 $115,950
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara7,800 $168,300
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land7,630 $154,560
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach7,290 $127,480
San Diego-Carlsbad6,240 $126,370
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario5,480 $115,860

Compare Total Employment & Salaries for Sales Managers

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Total employment and salary for professions similar to sales managers

Source : 2018 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics,; O*NET® 23.1 Database, O*NET OnLine, National Center for O*NET Development, Employment & Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor,

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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Sales Managers.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.