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Sales Management Careers

Career Description

A Sales Manager directs the firm’s sales program. They assign sales territories, set goals, and establish training programs for the sales representatives.

Common Work Tasks

  • Advise the sales representatives on ways to improve their sales performance
  • Oversee regional and local sales managers and their staffs
  • Maintain contact with dealers and distributors
  • Analyze sales statistics gathered by their staffs to determine sales potential and inventory requirements and to monitor customers’ preferences
  • Travel to national, regional, and local offices and to the offices of various dealers and distributors
  • Coordinate their companies’ market research,  sales, pricing, and product development activities
  • Interview, hire, and train employees
  • Establish and implement policies, goals, and procedures for their specific departments; coordinate activities with other department heads; and strive for smooth operations within their departments
  • Coordinate the activities of sales workers
  • Prepare budgets, make personnel decisions,  devise sales-incentive programs, and approve sales contracts

Other Job Titles

Sales Managers are also known by other titles, including:

  • Sales Worker Supervisor
  • Sales Department Manager
  • Sales Director
  • Sales Representative
  • Marketing Manager

Education,  Training, and Experience

Education and Training
  The educational backgrounds of sales managers vary widely. Managers who have postsecondary education often hold associate or bachelor’s degrees in liberal arts, social sciences, business, or management. Recommended high school or college courses include those related to business, such as accounting,  marketing, management, and sales, and those related to social science, such as psychology, sociology, and communication. Managers also must know how to use computers because almost all cash registers, inventory control systems, and sales quotes and contracts are computerized.

      Having previous sales experience is usually a requirement for becoming a sales manager.  Most sales managers have retail sales experience or experience as a customer service representative. In these positions, they learn merchandising, customer service, and the basic policies and procedures of the company. Sales managers must get along with all types of people. They need initiative, self-discipline,  good judgment, and decisiveness. Patience and a conciliatory temperament are necessary when dealing with demanding customers. Managers also must be able to motivate, organize, and direct the work of subordinates and communicate clearly and persuasively with customers and other supervisors.


The median annual salary of a Sales Manager is $94,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $145,000 annually, and the bottom 10 percent earn less than $46,000 annually. Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of sales managers are:

  • Management of Companies and Enterprises - $111,780
  • Automobile Dealers - $114,650
  • Wholesale Electronic Markets and Agents and Brokers - $125,750
  • Department Stores - $57,320
  • Computer Systems Design and Related Services - $136,090

Job Outlook

  • 2006-2016 Employment growth:  10%
  • Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: 33,000
  • Employment 2006 : 318,000
  • Employment 2016:  351,000
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