What Are the Duties and Job Requirements of a Sales Manager?

A sales manager trains a team of sales agents to build and maintain consumer relationships. Read on to discover the responsibilities you'll take on, as well as the education, skills, and experience you'll need to earn the position. Schools offering Sales & Marketing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Duties

As a sales manager, your primary responsibility will be to develop and maintain sales relationships with your company's potential customers and current clients. You'll sell your company's products and services to customers or advertise your company's good and services if you work for a marketing firm. You'll also oversee a team of sales representatives who sell your company's products in the field. Additionally, you might set individual and team sales goals, train and coach sales staff, assign sales territories, and analyze statistics to predict sales.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Median Salary (2014) $110,660
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 5% job growth
Work Environment Full-time in office settings; travel to meet clients is common
Similar Occupations Advertising sales agents, retail sales workers, sales engineers, wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that if you want to work as a sales manager, you'll generally need to earn at least a bachelor's degree (www.bls.gov). If you already have extensive experience working in a sales role, the educational requirements may differ.

Some courses you may take for a degree program related to sales management include the following:

  • Marketing
  • Accounting, finance and statistics
  • Business law and economics
  • Information systems
  • Strategic and operations management
  • Business communication

Additional Education

The BLS notes that some sales managers hold master's degrees. You might choose to advance your education and pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with an emphasis on marketing. In this program, you'll spend two years taking additional courses in financial and marketing management, organizational behavior and market research.

Experience and Other Required Skills

According to the BLS, employers generally look for applicants with one to five years of proven sales experience, preferably in the industry in which you plan to conduct sales. You must also have strong presentation, negotiation and communication skills, be able to make decisions concerning sales goals, and be able to manage multiple priorities simultaneously. Managers in this industry should have strong leadership skills, as well as a track record of closing sales and meeting objectives. Strong customer service skills are essential for making sales and understanding customers' needs.

Employment Information

Despite the importance of sales managers to an organization, the BLS reports there will be a lot of competition for jobs through the 2014-2024 decade due to the number of qualified applicants with extensive work experience. Two top employers of these professionals in 2014 were the company and enterprise management industry and automobile dealers. States with the highest employment levels included California, Texas, Illinois, New York and Florida.

The BLS reported that sales managers earned an average salary of $126,040 as of May 2014. The highest average wages were found in the securities and commodity contracts intermediation and brokerage industry at $191,950 annually. States with the highest average annual wages included New York, Delaware, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Virginia.

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