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Sales Manager Career


What Is a Sales Manager?


A sales manager oversees a company’s entire sales process. They are responsible for employee onboarding, while they develop and implement a sales strategy that caters to the strengths of the sales team. As a sales manager, you will have a hand in product development, market research, initial release, ongoing marketing, and data analysis. 

The role of a sales manager is not specialized. However, it will still require years of education in addition to years of experience in a retail environment.


What Does a Sales Manager Do?

On a day-to-day basis, sales managers fulfill a wide variety of tasks. On some days, a sales manager might spend his or her time interviewing new sales candidates or training new hires in the company’s efficient sales procedures. On other days, he or she may review sales reports, or create user-friendly dashboards that convey sales results to executives, stakeholders, and company owners. Some of their duties include:

  • Training sales teams on new tactics
  • Coming up with motivational systems for sales teams
  • Running reports on sales numbers and presenting to upper management
  • Setting quotas and expectations
  • Creating dashboards and sales reports for sales teams, management, or clients
  • Creating new methods for reaching customers
  • Spending time selling products or services 


What Education Does a Sales Manager Need?

Before you can begin a career as a sales manager, you’ll need to satisfy the necessary educational requirements. This means obtaining a bachelor’s degree that qualifies you to work in a sales setting. 

Applicants commonly obtain a bachelor’s degree in marketing. While obtaining an undergraduate degree in marketing, you’ll learn how to exercise specific marketing verticals, analyze business data, and experiment with new and proven marketing methods to determine which strategies work best in each environment. 

Alternatively, some aspiring sales managers prefer to obtain either a bachelor’s degree in business management or a master's degree in marketing. These degrees tailor your skillset to drive a corporate sales team toward long-term success. While working to obtain either of these degrees, you’ll learn skills that include team management, employee motivation, information technology, and professional communication. Each of these skills will benefit your output once you become a sales manager. 

Sometimes, sales experience is the best form of education. Not all sales managers need a formal education to succeed. In some cases, employees have worked their way up from the bottom, beginning their careers stocking shelves or performing entry-level sales duties before becoming sales managers. While a degree will be critical in helping you gain skills, experience is also key in being a successful sales manager.

Best Degrees for a Sales Manager


Business Management – B.S. Business Administration

Hone your business acumen and garner added respect:...

Hone your business acumen and garner added respect:

  • Time: 61% of graduates finish within 19 months
  • Tuition: $3,755 per 6-month term
  • Courses: 40 total courses in this program

Skills for your résumé this program will teach you include: 

  • Business communication
  • Product development
  • Decision making models
  • Project management strategies
  • Budgeting for business

This online degree program is an excellent choice for kick-starting your organizational management career.


Marketing – B.S. Business Administration

For those who want to lead brands and steer consumer markets:...

For those who want to lead brands and steer consumer markets:

  • Time: 60% of graduates finish within 19 months.
  • Tuition: $3,755 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 41 total courses in this program.

Skills for your résumé you will learn in this program include: 

  • Communication
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Management
  • Project Management
  • Product Management

Marketing is a creative and exciting field—and one where an undergraduate degree will open better opportunities.


Leadership Certificate – School of Business

Enhance your résumé and take a step in your educational journey with the...

Enhance your résumé and take a step in your educational journey with the help of a leadership certificate from the School of Business.

  • Time: 4 months from start to finish.
  • Cost: $2,250 for the certificate.
  • Courses: 3 courses total in this program.

This program is for emerging leaders, however this program does not require a bachelor’s degree, and provides transferable credit towards a WGU degree program.

Whether you aspire to work for a Fortune 500 organization, a government agency, a non-profit organization, or a fast-paced start-up, this certificate can give you the keys to success in a variety of industries, including:

  • Finance and Banking
  • Healthcare
  • Manufacturing
  • IT
  • Consulting
  • Nonprofit
  • Government

Marketing – M.S.

Two online marketing master's degree options with a focus on either...

Two online marketing master's degree options with a focus on either digital marketing or marketing analytics.

  • Time: 61% of graduates finish WGU master's programs in 18 months
  • Tuition: $4,530 per 6-month term
  • Courses: 10 total courses in this program
  • Specialization: Students choose from two specializations to focus their marketing studies on digital marketing or marketing analytics

Skills for your résumé that you will learn in this program:

  • Management
  • Strategic Planning
  • Digital Marketing Analytics
  • Presentations
  • Market Research
  • Communications

A marketing master's degree will help you prepare for a wide range of exciting marketing careers.

How Much Does a Sales Manager Make?


The exact income of a sales manager depends on a variety of influencing factors. These can include your employer, employer’s location, sales performance to date, years of experience, education, and active certifications. 

In general, the salary of a sales manager can average $67,192, with a range of roughly $43,000 to $122,000 earned each year.

What Is the Projected Job Growth?


Employment rates for sales managers are expected to increase 4% from 2019 to 2029. This projected growth rate is roughly equivalent to expected growth across all occupations, during the same time frame. 

No matter the product delivery method, an efficient sales team is an absolute must for any successful company. As economies grow and change, the need for sales managers to oversee and maintain all aspects of the sales process will remain high.


What Skills Does a Sales Manager Need?

Each day, sales managers put a wide variety of skills to constant use. These skills allow sales managers to find daily success on the job, whether they’re motivating employees or implementing new sales strategies.

Sales managers regularly put the following skills to use:

  • Business management. The ability to fully manage all aspects of a company’s operations, especially those aspects which contribute to sales.
  • Interpersonal communication. The ability to correspond effectively with all members of a sales team.
  • Data analysis. The ability to draw useful conclusions from sales data collected on individual products and overall trends.
  • Team management. The ability to manage all members of a sales team, to ensure continued smooth operations.
  • Team motivation. The ability to drive sales team members toward improved results regularly, while sustaining morale and inspiring employees by example.
  • Problem-solving. The ability to creatively address and solve the wide variety of problems that might occur daily in a sales environment.
  • Technological proficiency. The ability to fully use all pieces of technology required in a sales setting, including any computers, tablets, phones, data processing tools, online resources, and communication devices.
  • Delegation. The ability to assign tasks to individual sales team members, according to their proficiencies in certain areas.

These and other skills help sales managers thrive in a fast-paced retail atmosphere. As a sales manager, you’ll need to be able to communicate effectively, oversee staff, and ensure a smooth sales process from beginning to end.

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No need to wait for spring or fall semester. It's back-to-school time at WGU year-round. Get started by talking to an Enrollment Counselor today, and you'll be on your way to realizing your dream of a bachelor's or master's degree—sooner than you might think!

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Interested in Becoming a Sales Manager?

Learn more about degree programs that can prepare you for this meaningful career.