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Career profile Sales Manager

Also known as District Sales Manager, National Sales Manager, Regional Sales Manager, Sales and Marketing Vice President, Sales Director, Sales Manager, Sales Supervisor, Sales Vice President, Store Manager

Sales Manager

Also known as District Sales Manager, National Sales Manager, Regional Sales Manager

Interests Profile
  • Enterprising
  • Conventional
  • Social
Pay Range
$63,170 - $208,000+ (annual)
Required Skills
  • Persuasion
  • Active Listening
  • Speaking
Knowledge Areas
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Administration and Management
Core tasks
  • Direct and coordinate activities involving sales of manufactured products, services, commodities, real estate or other subjects of sale.
  • Confer with potential customers regarding equipment needs and advise customers on types of equipment to purchase.
  • Resolve customer complaints regarding sales and service.
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What does a Sales Manager do?

Sales Managers plan, direct, or coordinate the actual distribution or movement of a product or service to the customer.

In addition, Sales Managers

  • coordinate sales distribution by establishing sales territories, quotas, and goals and establish training programs for sales representatives,
  • analyze sales statistics gathered by staff to determine sales potential and inventory requirements and monitor the preferences of customers.

What kind of tasks does a Sales Manager perform regularly?

Sales Managers are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Direct and coordinate activities involving sales of manufactured products, services, commodities, real estate or other subjects of sale.
  • Resolve customer complaints regarding sales and service.
  • Review operational records and reports to project sales and determine profitability.
  • Oversee regional and local sales managers and their staffs.
  • Prepare budgets and approve budget expenditures.
  • Determine price schedules and discount rates.
  • Monitor customer preferences to determine focus of sales efforts.
  • Plan and direct staffing, training, and performance evaluations to develop and control sales and service programs.
  • Direct, coordinate, and review activities in sales and service accounting and record-keeping, and in receiving and shipping operations.
  • Direct clerical staff to keep records of export correspondence, bid requests, and credit collections, and to maintain current information on tariffs, licenses, and restrictions.
  • Advise dealers and distributors on policies and operating procedures to ensure functional effectiveness of business.
  • Confer or consult with department heads to plan advertising services and to secure information on equipment and customer specifications.
  • Represent company at trade association meetings to promote products.

The above responsibilities are specific to Sales Managers. More generally, Sales Managers are involved in several broader types of activities:

Selling or Influencing Others
Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.
Thinking Creatively
Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

What is a Sales Manager salary?

The median salary for a Sales Manager is $132,290, and the average salary is $147,580. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Sales Manager salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Sales Managers earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Sales Managers earn less than $63,170 per year, 25% earn less than $89,720, 75% earn less than $185,200, and 90% earn more than $208,000.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Sales Managers is expected to change by 7.0%, and there should be roughly 37,000 open positions for Sales Managers every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$63,170 - Over $208,000
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Sales Managers?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Sales Manager are usually higher in their Enterprising and Conventional interests.

Sales Managers typically have very strong Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Also, Sales Managers typically have moderate Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Sales Manager tend to value Independence, Working Conditions, and Achievement.

Most importantly, Sales Managers strongly value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Second, Sales Managers strongly value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Lastly, Sales Managers strongly value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Sales Managers must consistently demonstrate qualities such as initiative, integrity, and leadership.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Sales Managers, ranked by importance:

Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.

What education and training do Sales Managers need?

Many Sales Managers will have a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

Sales Managers usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Educational degrees among Sales Managers

  • 1.3% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 10.8% completed high school or secondary school
  • 19.6% completed some college coursework
  • 9.0% earned a Associate's degree
  • 46.2% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 11.9% earned a Master's degree
  • 1.2% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Sales Managers

Sales Managers may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as sales and marketing, customer and personal service, or administration and management knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Sales Managers might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Sales and Marketing
Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

Important Abilities needed by Sales Managers

Sales Managers must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Sales Managers need abilities such as oral comprehension, written comprehension, and oral expression in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Sales Managers, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Written Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
Deductive Reasoning
The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

Critical Skills needed by Sales Managers

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Sales Managers frequently use skills like persuasion, active listening, and speaking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Sales Managers, ranked by their relative importance.

Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.