How to Become A Sales Manager

Sales Managers lead their teams to achieve the organization’s sales targets. They are responsible for making sales plans, setting targets, analyzing data and training teams. Sales Managers are also involved in the recruiting process. Depending on the size of the company, they oversee regional and local sales teams, address customer complaints/queries and monitor customer preferences.

Should I Become a Sales Manager?

Sales Managers must have a resourceful personality – creative, ambitious, energetic, assertive and confident. They need to pass on their positivity to the sales team and be persuasive and motivational.

The following table outlines the basics of a sales manager career, including information on the salary, minimum education requirements, experience and licensure requirements.

Education Required

Bachelor's Degree

Major Requirement

Business Administration, Marketing, Public Relations


No certification is required but additional credentials can help job prospects


At least 2 years of experience in sales with good sales record

Key Skills

Strong communication skills, good people skills, time management, confidence, motivation, analytical skills and strategic planning

Annual Mean Salary (2018)

$140,320 per year

Job Outlook (2018-28)


Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education and relevant experience is the key for a Sales Manager position. They should have at least a bachelor’s degree in fields like Business, Marketing or Public Relations. For senior positions, some employers prefer master’s degree in business (MBA). There is no certification required to become a Sales Manager but significant experience in a sales field or in any other sales capacity is a must.

Career Requirements

Most Sales Managers have direct contact with customers, so it is important for them to have good communication and interpersonal skills. Their responsibilities also include training a sales team which makes it necessary for Sales Managers to have leadership qualities. To become a Sales Manager, a bachelor’s degree in fields like Marketing, Business or Public Relations is required. During the program students are encouraged to develop their public speaking skills. After completing the degree, it is important to gain some experience as it increases employment prospects. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018 the mean annual wage of a Sales Manager was $140,320 and a 5% increase in employment is projected from 2018 to 2028.

Steps to Become a Sales Manager

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

To become a Sales Manager, a bachelor’s degree is required in related subjects like Business, Public Relations, Marketing or Management. During the degree program, students get to study courses such as Economics, Finance, Statistics, Accounting and Business Law. Aspiring Sales Managers can also combine degrees to broaden their learning; for example, earn both technical and business degrees to enter the information technology industry.

Step 2: Get Experience in Sales

All employers look for people with prior sales experience, so the next step after graduation is usually gaining experience in the sales field. During this on-field experience, future sales representatives learn about planning and implementing sales strategies. To apply for a Sales Manager position, a candidate must have at least 2 to 5 years of experience. At the time of the interview, employers evaluate candidates on their leadership skills, communication skills and analytical abilities.

Step 3: Look for Employment

The sales industry is huge, which is why according to BLS, an estimated 5% increase is projected between 2018 and 2028. When applying for a Sales Manager position, it is important to look for a company that has growth potential and advancement opportunities. Responsibilities include managing the company’s sales by developing a business plan that meets the goals, sales and revenue objectives. Training and coordinating with the sales team, setting and achieving targets as well as catering to the demands of customers are other responsibilities that come with the job.

Step 4: Further Learning

In order to advance in the field of sales, continuous learning is recommended. Some colleges offer online degrees, allowing flexibility in scheduling. You can also opt for learning different languages like Spanish, Chinese and German to cater to international clients.

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