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Sales Manager

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(5.9 out of 10)

Number of Jobs


Median Salary


Unemployment Rate

5.2 percent

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This Job is Ranked in
Best Business Jobs #16
The 100 Best Jobs #73

Sales managers direct the distribution of their company’s products to customers, which involves establishing sales territories as well as setting quotas and goals. Serving as the guiding hand for the sales team, sales managers outline the staff’s training programs, develop strategies for the sales team to operate efficiently and push team members to surpass short- and long-term sales targets. Sales managers also work closely with the marketing department to identify new customers the sales team can target. In addition to overseeing the sales team, sales managers have external responsibilities that include actively recruiting and hiring.

Sales manager jobs are dependent on growth in the industry they are employed in. Organizations interested in generating new sales and boosting profitability need successful sales managers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment for sales managers will grow by 8.3 percent between 2012 and 2022. During that time period, 29,800 jobs will need to be filled. Due to the increase in online shopping, job growth is expected to be stronger for managers who sell products to businesses nationwide rather than to individual consumers in brick-and-mortar stores.


Sales managers earned a median salary of $105,260 in 2012, according to the BLS. The best-paid made more than $187,199, while the worst-paid made about $52,950. The field’s most highly compensated managers usually work for companies specializing in securities and commodity exchanges and brokerages and other financial services firms. The highest earners work in the metropolitan areas of New York City, San Jose, Calif., and Wilmington, Del.

Salary Range

75th Percentile $150,610
Median $105,260
25th Percentile $72,210


Employers hiring sales managers often prefer candidates with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in business administration with a focus in marketing. Taking courses in business law, economics, management, accounting, mathematics, finance and statistics will give applicants a leg up on the competition. Computer skills are also useful for record keeping and data management. Many sales managers are promoted from the ranks of sales representatives, purchasing agents, buyers or even promotion specialists. Some organizations also offer certification programs.

Reviews & Advice

Hiring managers look closely at traits like an applicant’s ability to establish a rapport with the sales team and to improve the sales skills of other representatives, according to Bob Kelly, chairman of the Sales Management Association. He says companies are more apt to hire applicants who can prove they’ll increase profits. To do that, Kelly recommends applicants develop a plan of action that demonstrates how they would boost productivity. “Hiring managers want to know that a sales manager is about implementation and is action-oriented,” Kelly says. “It’s not enough for a sales manager to make more sales themselves – they have to make the rest of the team more productive.”

Job Satisfaction

Upward Mobility fair Average
Stress Level poor High
Flexibility poor Below Average
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Last updated by Emily Brandon.

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