How to Become a Sales Manager?

Are you thinking of becoming a Sales Manager or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become a Sales Manager, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new Sales Manager job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.

Steps to Become a Sales Manager

A sales manager directs a company's sales team. Specific responsibilities may vary based on the size of the company but typically include assigning sales territories, setting sales goals, analyzing data, and developing training programs for a company's sales representatives. Here are five steps on how to become a sales manager.

Get your education.

While a formal education isn't always a requirement to become a sales manager, it's an excellent way to make yourself stand out from the crowd. You should obtain your high school diploma or equivalent. There's also the option to seek advanced education. If you wish, you may pursue an associate, bachelor's, or even a master's degree in fields related to being a sales manager.

What type of degree should you pursue to become a Sales Manager?

95% of people working as a Sales Manager earned a Bachelor's Degree

Based on resume data from Glassdoor users who reported working as a Sales Manager in the United States.

Earn sales certifications.

While getting certified is not a requirement as a sales manager, it will likely help you understand your job better. Certifications include:

  • Certified Sales Leadership Professional. The National Association of Sales Professionals offers the CSLP certification. It's ideal for sales professionals who wish to one day move forward into a leadership role. You'll need 30 hours of continuing education every three years to maintain your certification.
  • Certified Inside Sales Professional. This certification is tailored to those who work with remote or inside sales. This certification requires successful completion of an eight- to 12-week class and a simulated sales call.
  • Certified Professional Sales Person. The NASP also offers the CPSP. This certification is designed to help improve your sales skills and increase your numbers through a six-week course and completion of an exam.

Get an entry-level sales role.

After you obtain your diploma, certification, or degree, it's time to start applying for entry-level jobs as a sales manager. Starting in an entry-level position will allow you to improve your skills and performance as you work with customers, accept more responsibilities, and help your team members when it's possible.


Improve sales performance and gain skills.

As you navigate your way through your first position in the sales management field, you must improve your sales performance and gain other skills to help you improve your performance. You may find it comes naturally to help guide your coworkers as you begin to excel in your position.

Skills that will be necessary as a sales manager include:

  • Customer service. As a sales manager, you'll be responsible for ensuring your customers are pleased with their experience. You'll need to be able to mediate conflict appropriately, make sales, and ensure that your customers and team members have a good experience.
  • Problem-solving. It's no doubt that you'll be faced with some disagreement or conflict as a sales manager. You need to identify problems as they arise and find solutions to those problems, so your sales aren't affected.
  • Analysis. Analytical skills will help you evaluate and report numbers for sales. This skill is vital in projected trends.
  • Leadership. Being a good leader is one of your major roles as a sales manager. Keeping your team motivated will ensure that everyone's successful.

Apply for sales manager positions.

Once you've earned experience in the industry and developed the necessary sales-related skills, you may want to begin applying for sales manager positions. To begin, you can inquire about openings within your current company or apply with outside companies with jobs that seem tailored to your skill set.

Sales Manager Career Path

Sales Manager

2 - 4Years of Experience
$88K - $155K /yrMost Likely Range
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Senior Sales Manager

2 - 4Years of Experience
$118K - $203K /yrMost Likely Range
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Lead Sales Manager

5 - 7Years of Experience
$73K - $124K /yrMost Likely Range
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Total Pay Trajectory

Sales Manager Career Path

Sales Manager I
Sales Manager
Associate Supervisor of Sales Engineering
Senior Sales Manager
Sales Manager Manager
Lead Sales Manager
Senior Manager of Sales Engineering
Sales Manager V
Assistant Director of Sales Engineering
Senior Principal Sales Manager
Associate Director of Sales Engineering
Director of Sales

Related Careers in the Sales Industry

Interested in other Sales careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with Sales Manager skills. Discover some of the most common Sales Manager career transitions, along with skills overlap.

Sales Representative
0% skills overlap
28% transitioned to Sales Representative