Hilbert College Global Online Blog

How to Become a Sales Manager

Written by: Hilbert College   •  Mar 19, 2024
A sales manager meets with the sales team.

How to Become a Sales Manager

Sales teams are crucial components of a business, particularly impacting its growth and expansion efforts. Businesses that rely heavily on sales, especially large businesses, need skilled sales professionals to train and oversee their company’s sales associates. That is why effective sales managers are an essential part of a successful sales team.

Sales managers are highly motivated and energetic business professionals who have the work experience, education and leadership qualities to make a significant impact in a fast-paced sales department.

What Does a Sales Manager Do?

A sales manager is a specialist in sales who has management responsibilities. They are part of a network of management professionals who oversee a company or organization’s sales team. Sales managers lead, supervise and train sales teams on how to use evidence-based sales strategies to improve sales metrics.

In effect, there are two types of sales managers: business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C).

  • B2B Sales Managers: overseas sales from one business to another.

  • B2C Sales Managers: overseas sales between a company and its customers.

Key Responsibilities

To become a sales manager, individuals must be prepared to perform a wide range of duties. Although the responsibilities of a sales manager vary depending on the company, most sales managers share these key responsibilities.

  • Analyzing sales statistics

  • Preparing departmental budgets

  • Developing sales plans that include both inbound and outbound strategies

  • Hiring, training and developing sales staff

  • Monitoring sales goals

  • Setting individual goals for sales staff

Where Do Sales Managers Work?

Sales managers primarily work in an office environment, either in-person at their company or remotely. A typical schedule includes 40-hour workweeks, though freelancers may operate on their own set schedule.

Sales managers perform duties in a variety of environments that include:

  • Call centers

  • Wholesale stores

  • Warehouses

  • Corporate offices

  • Retail stores

  • Marketing agencies

Steps to Become a Sales Manager

Aspiring sales managers will have at least an undergraduate degree in business or sales. However, some companies prefer sales managers to have a graduate degree in either business or management. Further professional qualifications in addition to a degree can help job candidates stand out from the competition.

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

Although some companies hire sales managers who don’t have a degree, most jobs require candidates to hold at least a bachelor’s degree in business, sales or a related field. A Bachelor of Science in Business Management, for example, can establish the foundation for work in management and sales by teaching students leadership acumen and key business principles.

Step 2: Gain Work Experience

Aside from administrative tasks, sales managers are expected to motivate their teams. To accomplish this, they must exemplify leadership skills. While some people have natural leadership traits, others develop them through relevant work experience, working with a mentor or participating in workshops or conferences.

Step 3: Develop Key Skills

With a bachelor’s degree in business management and significant work experience, prospective sales managers can build essential skills that can help them find success in their role. These skills include the following:

  • Sales forecasting

  • Communication

  • Customer service

  • Strategic thinking

  • Team management

  • Problem solving

  • Active listening

  • Sales customer relationship management

Step 4: Obtain Certification

Well-prepared candidates should continue their education after earning a bachelor’s degree to strengthen their knowledge and stay up-to-date on current business trends. Additionally, they can take courses to become certified.

Common certifications include the following.

  • Certified Sales Executive Certification (CSE)

  • Certified Professional Sales Person Certification (CPSP)

  • Certified Professional Sales Leader Certification (CPL)

Obtaining a certification shows potential employers a sales professional has the advanced competencies and expertise to lead a sales team.

Sales Manager Salary and Job Outlook

Sales managers are valued by their organizations and have the potential to earn a relatively high salary. Sales managers had a median annual salary of $130,600 as of May 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The precise salary an individual may earn can vary depending on several factors, such as job location, years of experience and level of education.

The lowest 10% of sales managers earned less than $61,040, and the highest 10% made more than $239,200. Currently, the highest paying wage for sales managers is in the finance and insurance industry at $161,040.

Job opportunities for sales managers are expected to grow by 4% from 2022 to 2032, according to the BLS. Approximately 43,200 new jobs are projected to open each year during this time. This growth is due at least in part from sales managers leaving the workforce through retirement or other means or changing occupations.

Begin a Career as a Sales Manager

For those with strong leadership abilities, excellent communication skills and the talent to inspire and motivate others, a career as a sales manager may be the perfect fit.

Begin your path to becoming a sales manager by earning a bachelor degree based on your own time and schedule. Hilbert College Global offers a convenient online Bachelor of Science in Business Management that prepares students for work in various high-paying sectors, including accounting and sales management. The program covers business law, planning, finance and soft skills such as ethical decision making and organizational behavior.

Discover how to lead and motivate a successful sales team in today’s global economy with Hilbert College Global.

Recommended Readings

The Evolution of Business Communication

What Is Servant Leadership?

How to Become an Operations Manager


Forbes, How to Become a Sales Manager

Indeed, 20 Sales Manager Skills

Indeed, Role of a Sales Manager: Duties, Skills, and Importance

Pipedrive, Sales Management Definition, Process, Strategies, and Resources

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Sales Manager

Zendesk, What Does a Sales Manager Do?

Learn more about the benefits of receiving
your degree from Hilbert College