Sales managers work in numerous industries in which they lead a sales team and supervise plans. A bachelor's degree may be sufficient for this job, but employers seem to prefer a master's degree—typically one that's germane to their business. They also favor results-oriented work experience.
Sales managers train and direct teams of salespeople in a company setting. They may assign sales territories, set income goals and assign quotas for sales representatives. Prospective sales managers typically earn a bachelor's degree in business administration, statistics or mathematics. Some employers prefer to hire sales managers who also have a master's degree in business administration. Computer skills are also often required.
|Required Education||Bachelor's usually needed; master's preferred by some employers|
|Other Requirements||Computer skills|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||5%|
|Median Annual Salary (2015)*||$113,860|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Education Requirements for a Sales Manager
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employers often fill sales manager positions with individuals within their company; however, work performance and formal education are both considered when choosing a candidate (www.bls.gov). Generally, companies seek candidates who possess a bachelor's degree in business administration with an emphasis in marketing and some prefer the candidate to have a master's degree. Candidates who have an abundance of experience as sales representatives might not need as many educational requirements as candidates who don't have as much experience.
Aspiring sales managers may also earn degrees in a specific area relevant to their industry, like technology, which prepares them for jobs with specialized companies. They might also combine their degrees; for example, a sales manager seeking a position in a high-tech industry might consider both a technical and business degree.
Given the changing face of the global marketplace, sales managers need excellent computer skills and a thorough understanding of the Internet, through which many companies conduct sales promotions and advertising campaigns. Computer skills are also necessary for data management and bookkeeping. Sales managers may also benefit from skills in a second language. A great deal of business worldwide is conducted with foreign entities and skills in Spanish, German or Chinese may help open the door to job opportunities.
Sales managers can be found in almost any industry. Related occupations include sales managers with marketing, advertising, public relations and promotions managers. According to the BLS, there were approximately 376,300 sales manager jobs in 2014. Employment growth for sales managers is expected to be approximately 5% for the period between 2014 and 2024. This growth rate is below average for all jobs, but sales managers who work in companies that specialize in B2B (business-to-business) sales can expect to see better job growth.
The BLS reported that as of May 2015, sales managers earned a median annual salary of $113,860. The bottom-paid ten percent of the profession, on average, brought home less than $54,490, while the top-paid ten percent made more than $164,300. California, Texas and Illinois employed the most workers in the profession, while New York, Delaware and Virginia had the highest average wages for sales managers.
To become a sales manager, one should seek a degree in some type of business field, adjusting to the industry they wish to work in. A master's degree is a preference among many employers in addition to experience. On top of it all, computer and persuasion skills are crucial.