Sales managers direct the activities of sales departments and sales staff. The position can be stressful because it is responsible for meeting sales goals. Depending on the size of their firms, managers may travel to national, regional and local offices. Most earn their pay working full-time, although long hours that include evenings and weekends are common.
Sales managers averaged $116,860 per year, or $56.18 per hour, as of May 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lowest-earning 10 percent received $51,760, or $24.88 hourly, while the best-paid 10 percent made more than $187,199, or $90 hourly. To earn this income, sales managers hire and train sales staff, analyze customer preferences and resolve customer complaints. They analyze sales statistics, determine sales goals and ways to reach those goals, and prepare budgets. In large corporations, they may be in charge of a specific product line or sales territory, while in smaller enterprises they may take charge of all sales functions.
In 2011, the biggest employers of sales managers were organizations that took over the management of other companies by either maintaining a controlling interest in stock, or by providing strategic planning to client companies. This sector had almost 8 percent of the 328,230 sales manager positions and paid an average $125,660 annually, or $60.42 per hour. The highest paying businesses were in securities and commodity exchanges, with mean salaries of $187,910, or $90.34 hourly. Employers typically require their sales managers to have a bachelor’s degree, though some may have master’s credentials. At least one to five years of sales experience also are necessary.
The two most populous states had the most customers and the highest employment for sales managers in 2011. California had 16 percent of the total positions with average wages of $125,160 yearly, or $60.17 per hour. Texas was next with 7 percent of the jobs and mean earnings at $115,080, or $55.33 hourly. The state with the highest paying employers was New York at an average $169,710, or $81.59 hourly, followed by Delaware at a mean $151,770, or $72.97, and New Jersey, averaging $140,570, or $67.58 hourly. (REFERENCE 2)
The BLS predicts that employment for sales managers will grow by 12 percent from 2010 to 2020, which is better than the 7 percent expected for all management occupations, but less than the 14 percent forecast for all jobs in all U.S. industries. A growing economy will fuel the increases. Business-to-business positions will show more opportunities than business-to-consumer jobs because the growth of online shopping has reduced the need for sales calls to individual consumers. Competition will be strong as both managers from other departments and experienced sales people seek these jobs.