Sales Operations Manager Careers: Job Description & Salary Info

About this article
The median annual salary for sales managers was about $109,000 as of May 2013. Read on to see job postings from real employers and learn about job prospects to see if this career path is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of Working as a Sales Manager

Sales managers are responsible for ensuring organizations meet their sales goals while managing salespeople. The following are a few of the pros and cons of pursuing a career in this field.

Pros of Working as a Sales Manager
Good pay (around $110,000 per year)*
Opportunity to oversee workers*
Jobs in many different industries*
Work in a comfortable setting*

Cons of Working as a Sales Manager
Strong competition for jobs*
Pressure to meet sales quotas*
Could face interdepartmental competition*
Sometimes requires long hours*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Essential Career Info

Job Duties

Sales managers are generally in charge of a staff of salespeople, making sure an organization meets its sales goals. Some of your daily job duties might include resolving customer complaints, directing staffing efforts, evaluating the performance of sales staff and determining discount rates. Other tasks could include preparing budgets, keeping track of market trends and customer preferences, consulting with department managers or contacting potential clients.

Salary

The BLS reported a median annual salary of about $110,000 for sales managers as of May 2014 (www.bls.gov). Professionals in the 75th percentile earned upwards of $160,000, while the lowest 10% made $53,000 or less. The industries that offered the highest salaries for sales managers were securities and commodities brokering financial investment; securities and commodities exchanges; apparel wholesalers; and specialized design services.

Career Outlook

According to the BLS, sales managers are expected to experience an employment growth rate of about 8% from 2012-2022. Growth in this field will likely be due to increased sales efforts resulting from a growing economy. Job prospects are expected to be more plentiful in business-to-business sales, since online sales efforts are expected to decrease the need for direct sales calls to consumers. Industries with the highest levels of employment include enterprise management, car dealers, electronics brokers, department stores and computer systems design.

Requirements

Education

Most sales managers have at least a bachelor's degree in a business-related field, such as accounting, human resources management, business administration, marketing or finance. You could pursue a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree program with a concentration in sales. These programs are often combined with related areas like marketing. They typically take four years to complete and often include an internship requirement. You could take classes in areas like accounting, business communication, market intelligence, business law and economics. Other areas of study could include presentation techniques, interactive marketing, relationship-based selling and business planning.

Skills

Sales managers must be able to communicate clearly and persuasively, and they must be able to convey the benefits of a product and build relationships with clients. Similarly, active listening skills can help communicate and build relationships. Social perceptiveness, critical thinking and leadership are also valuable skills in this field.

Job Postings

Employers looking for sales managers often seek job candidates who have experience selling products in a specific industry. You typically must have a good sales record as well. Having earned a master's degree in business or sales could improve your chances of success. Check out the following job postings from 2012 to see what real employers are looking for in sales operations manager applicants.

  • A sales operations support manager is needed in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In addition to a good sales record, you need at least 10 years of experience in the financial industry to be eligible for this position.
  • A sales manager is needed to cover a regional area in Georgia. This is a business-to-business sales position that requires at least five years of experience.
  • A corporate sales manager is needed in Ohio. To be eligible for this position, you need at least three years of direct sales experience.

How To Stand Out

Most sales manager positions require a bachelor's degree, and some jobs can be secured with a high school diploma; however, if you earn a master's degree in business, you may be able to increase your chances of success. A Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a terminal degree in business that takes 2-3 years to complete and could qualify you for upper-level management or executive positions. Alternatively, you could join a professional organization. Sales managers can join the Sales Management Association, which offers certification opportunities and networking events.

Alternative Careers

Advertising Sales Agent

Advertising sales agents are responsible for selling advertising space to private businesses. Their primary responsibility is contacting prospective clientele to make sales presentations. You can get this job with a high school diploma, and it pays around $45,000 per year, as of 2011, according to the BLS.

Market Research Analyst

If you want to be involved in sales and marketing, but don't want the pressure and instability associated with working as a sales manager, consider finding a job as a market research analyst. Professionals in this field study market trends and recommend effective sales strategies. The BLS reports that you typically need a bachelor's degree to get this job and it paid about $61,000 per year in 2011.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA: Marketing
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      • Master - Accounting
      • MBA: Finance
    Bachelor's
      • BSBA in Sales Management
      • Bachelor of Business Admin
      • BSBA in Marketing
      • BSBA - Investment
    Associate's
      • AASBA in Sales
      • Associate: Business Admin.
      • AASBA in Customer Service
      • AASBA in Retail Management
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Ashford University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA - Business Economics
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      • MBA
      • MBA - Media Management
      • MA-Accountancy
    Bachelor's
      • B.A. - Business Admin
      • B.A. - Operations Management and Analysis
      • BA/eMarketing
      • B.A. - International Business
  • Campus and Online Programs
    3. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • M.S. - Entertainment Business
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    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Music Business
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  • Online Programs Available
    4. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Management (DM) - General Concentration (Executive Format)
    Master's
      • Master of Business Admin: Marketing
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    Bachelor's
      • BS - Business Administration - Marketing
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      • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Organizational Behavior
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    Associate's
      • Associate of Science in Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • DBA - Management
      • DBA with an Emphasis in Marketing
      • Bridge (Doctor of Business Administration with an Emphasis in Marketing)
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      • MBA: Marketing
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    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education
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  • Online Programs Available
    6. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Marketing
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      • MBA - Marketing
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  • Online Programs Available
    7. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA
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    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Business Management: Business Admin Concentration
      • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
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      • Associate of Science - Business Management
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  • Online Programs Available
    8. Utica College

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA - General
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Management
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Marketing
      • BS - Organizational Leadership
  • Online Programs Available
    10. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Admin: Marketing
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Business Administration - Generalist
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Marketing
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    Associate's
      • Associate of Arts in Business Administration

Featured Schools

Kaplan University

  • MBA: Marketing
  • BSBA in Sales Management
  • AASBA in Sales

Which subject are you interested in?

Ashford University

  • MBA - Business Economics
  • MBA - Marketing
  • B.A. - Business Admin
  • B.A. - Operations Management and Analysis

What is your highest level of education?

Full Sail University

  • M.S. - Entertainment Business
  • M.S. - Internet Marketing
  • B.S. - Music Business
  • BS - Internet Marketing - Certificate

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado Technical University

  • Doctor of Management (DM) - General Concentration (Executive Format)
  • Master of Business Admin: Marketing
  • BS - Business Administration - Marketing
  • Associate of Science in Business Administration

Are you a US citizen?

Grand Canyon University

  • DBA - Management
  • MBA: Marketing
  • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education

What is your highest level of education?

Northcentral University

  • Doctor of Business Admin - Marketing
  • PhD in Business Admin - Marketing
  • MBA - Marketing
  • Master of Business Admin - General Business

What is your highest level of education?

Herzing University

  • MBA
  • B.S. - Business Management: Business Admin Concentration
  • Associate of Science - Business Management

What is your highest level of education?

Utica College

  • MBA - General

What is your highest level of education completed?