Sales Manager

Sales managers develop and coordinate the sales program of a particular company, a crucial role in maximizing profits. They direct the sales representatives by assigning sales territories, setting goals, advising representatives on how to reach those goals, and overseeing staff training programs. They develop and maintain lasting relationships with dealers and distributors. In addition, they analyze sales statistics in order to determine inventory needs and sales potential for a company’s various products and services.

Job Skills

Sales managers must be able to communicate, both in writing and orally, in a persuasive manner. They must be able to sell their ideas to other managers and executives, as well as convince buyers to purchase the company’s products or services. They also need to be mature, creative, highly motivated, resistant to stress, flexible, and decisive. In addition, they need to be able to use tact and good judgment.


In 2002, sales managers earned a median annual salary of $75,040. The following shows the median annual salaries for the industries employing the highest numbers of sales managers:

  • Computer systems design and related services – $102,520
  • Automobile dealers – 91,350
  • Management of companies and enterprises – 87,800
  • Insurance carriers – 80,540
  • Traveler accommodation – 44,560

Training and Education

Most employers prefer candidates with experience in a related occupation, as well as a bachelor’s degree, with study in business law, economics, accounting, finance, mathematics, and statistics. Some employers require a candidate to have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in business administration with an emphasis on marketing. Other resume enhancers include courses in management, school internships, familiarity with word processing and database applications, and fluency in a foreign language.


Out of the nearly 700,000 related jobs in 2002, about 343,000 people were employed as sales managers. While these managers were found in almost every industry, a majority of sales managers were employed in manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, and finance and insurance.

Job Outlook

Between 2002 and 2012, the number of sales managers is expected to increase faster than the average. This is due to intense domestic and global competition in products and services offered to consumers. However, employment growth will vary greatly by industry. In scientific, professional, and related services, employment growth will grow much faster than average; while growth in manufacturing will stay the same. Because of the desirability of these types of positions and the opportunity for advancement, competition for most jobs in this sector is expected to be fierce.

Please visit our sections on Business Administration Degrees and MBA Programs for more information on becoming a Sales Manager.