How Much Do Sales Managers Make?

If you’re working in sales and love it, it makes sense to take it up a notch and become a sales manager. Of course, to be a sales manager, you’ll need more skills in addition to being good at sales. To be a sales manager, you’ll need excellence in handling pressure, multi-tasking, communicating with your sales staff and customers, and planning sales strategies.

As a rule, a sales manager will make more money than a salesperson. The amount of money a sales manager makes depends on a variety of factors, such as the type of industry and its location in the country.

This post will go over the average salary of a sales manager and factors that impact how much can be earned. We’ll also discuss the vital role that sales managers play, from learning how to build a sales team to managing and disseminating information to team members.

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What Is a Sales Manager?

The sales manager oversees the sales team. The sales manager is often in charge of recruiting and hiring sales team members. Once the salespeople are on board, the sales manager continues to oversee the new hires, often being involved in mentoring and motivating them. This may include everything from developing an elevator pitch to ensuring that sales messages align with the company’s marketing communications strategy.

A sales department may also have administrative staff who handle sales leads and other paperwork, such as information about confirmed sales, product delivery and any customer complaints. They may even utilize digital tools like sales forecasting software, which can provide valuable insights to sales reps. The sales manager should be in the loop with this information and take timely action as needed.

The specific job description of a sales manager can vary widely. In some businesses, the role is only centered around specific sales tasks. However, the role may more closely resemble a chief operating officer job description in some companies where the sales department is the cornerstone of the organization.

How Much Does a Sales Manager Make?

A salesperson typically earns a base salary plus commission, and the same is true for a sales manager’s salary. How much are the average sales manager’s salaries? That’s dependent on a number of factors:

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What is the Average Base Salary of a Sales Manager?

Across the US, the average base sales manager’s salary is about $82,000. The base sales manager’s salary range is from $41,000 to $165,000.

The average sales manager commission ranges from $25,000 to six figures, annually.

Factors That Influence a Sales Manager’s Average Salary

how much do sales managers make

The sales manager’s salary can have a wide range due to a multitude of factors. It’s common to see different sales managers in the same role but with different salaries due to various aspects beyond just the job’s location. Below are the factors that contribute to this wide range:

1. Location:

  • Metropolitan Area: Higher traffic, demand, and living costs often lead to higher salaries.
  • Rural Area: May offer lower salaries due to decreased demand and lower living costs.

2. Type of Industry:

  • High Growth Industries: May offer higher salaries due to increased revenue and growth potential.
  • Traditional or Slower Growth Industries: Might have more constrained salary budgets.

3. Sales Manager Level of Education:

  • Advanced Degrees and Certifications: May command higher salaries due to specialized knowledge.
  • Lack of Formal Education: Might result in a lower salary, especially in highly technical or specialized industries.

4. Sales Manager Number of Years in the Industry:

  • More Experience: Likely to earn more due to established skills, relationships, and knowledge.
  • Less Experience: Generally, less experience results in a lower salary.

5. Sales Manager Past Performance Number:

  • High Performance: Demonstrated success in achieving sales targets can lead to higher pay.
  • Inconsistent Performance: May result in a lower salary or reduced growth in compensation.

6. Sales Manager Supervisory Record (Number of Employees Overseen):

  • Management of Larger Teams: Usually corresponds with higher responsibility and higher pay.
  • Management of Smaller Teams: Might lead to a lower salary due to reduced responsibilities.

7. Company Size and Revenue:

  • Large Corporations: Often able to offer higher salaries due to more extensive resources.
  • Small Businesses or Startups: Might have more constrained salary offerings.

8. Economic Factors and Market Conditions:

  • Strong Economy: Generally corresponds with higher salaries as businesses expand and grow.
  • Recession or Weak Economy: Can result in salary stagnation or reduction.

9. Negotiation Skills:

  • Strong Negotiators: May secure higher salaries through effective negotiation.
  • Weaker Negotiators: May end up accepting lower offers.

10. Benefits and Compensation Structure:

  • High Base Salary vs. Commission: Some industries might offer a lower base salary but substantial commission opportunities, while others might provide a higher base salary with lower commission.

11. Job Responsibilities and Complexity:

  • More Complex Roles: Often command higher salaries due to the specialized skills and knowledge required.
  • Less Complex Roles: Might have a lower compensation rate.

In conclusion, the wide range in sales manager salaries can be attributed to the complex interplay of these factors. Everything from the industry type and location to the individual’s experience, performance, and even negotiation skills can significantly influence what one sales manager earns compared to another. Understanding these factors can help sales managers evaluate their worth in the market and negotiate effectively.

Ascending the Sales Ladder: From Territory Sales Manager to District Sales Manager

how much do sales managers make

A sales manager with a team of sales people typically is assigned a specific territory.

In addition to compiling years of experience, a sales manager who wants to move up the sales ladder may take courses in business management, human resources, marketing, telecommunications and more. The district sales manager is often more involved in sales strategies, customer relationships and company goals.

A District Sales Manager will oversee territory sales managers. The territory and district sales managers must usually travel as part of the job requirements.

Comparing Sales Manager Salaries Across Industries

Salaries vary from industry to industry at all levels of sales, from the salesperson to the district manager. Here’s a look at which industries currently support the highest salaries:

Industries with the Highest Salary for Sales Managers

how much do sales managers make

Sales managers are a critical component in driving revenue and growth in various industries, and some sectors are particularly known for offering high salaries. Below, you’ll find more details about the industries you’ve mentioned that support the highest salaries for sales managers:

1. Pharmaceuticals:

  • Why High Salaries: The complex nature of selling pharmaceutical products, adherence to regulations, and the need for deep product knowledge.
  • Additional Factors: The target market often includes healthcare professionals requiring specialized communication and relationship-building skills.

2. Telecommunications (including cell phones and accessories):

  • Why High Salaries: Rapid technological advancements and fierce competition in the telecommunications sector.
  • Additional Factors: Sales managers must understand B2B and B2C sales, manage large teams, and stay current with technological changes.

3. Computer Software/Digital Media:

  • Why High Salaries: High demand for software solutions, digital platforms, and media products, especially in business environments.
  • Additional Factors: Requires a deep understanding of technology, trends, and the ability to sell often intangible products to a varied audience.

4. Real Estate:

  • Why High Salaries: The high-value nature of real estate transactions and the potential for substantial commissions.
  • Additional Factors: Local market knowledge, negotiation skills, and the ability to work with various stakeholders (buyers, sellers, agents) are essential.

5. Automotive (parts and accessories, as well as vehicles):

  • Why High Salaries: The automotive industry includes luxury brands and high-value parts that can lead to significant commissions.
  • Additional Factors: Sales managers must have detailed knowledge of vehicles, parts, and the broader automotive market, including trends and consumer preferences.

Other Industries with Potential for High Sales Manager Salaries:

6. Financial Services and Banking:

  • Why High Salaries: The sale of complex financial products and services can result in substantial rewards.
  • Additional Factors: Requires specialized financial knowledge, regulatory compliance understanding, and relationship management skills.

7. Oil and Gas:

  • Why High Salaries: High-value contracts and the global nature of the industry.
  • Additional Factors: Navigating geopolitical factors, regulatory compliance, and understanding technical aspects of the industry are key.

8. Luxury Goods and High-End Retail:

  • Why High Salaries: Selling premium products often leads to higher commissions and base salaries.
  • Additional Factors: Brand representation, client relationship management, and personalized sales approaches are essential.

In summary, industries that support the highest salaries for sales managers usually involve high-value products or services, complex sales cycles, specialized knowledge, and strong relationship-building skills. Sales managers in these industries must often navigate intricate landscapes, whether dealing with technological advancements, regulatory compliance, or high-stakes negotiations. As a result, they are often compensated accordingly for their expertise and contributions to revenue growth.

IndustryWhy High SalariesAdditional Factors
PharmaceuticalsComplex products, regulatory adherenceTargeting healthcare professionals, specialized communication skills
TelecommunicationsTechnological advancements, competitionUnderstanding B2B/B2C, managing large teams, technological changes
Computer Software/Digital MediaHigh demand for software and digital productsUnderstanding technology, trends, selling intangible products
Real EstateHigh-value transactions, substantial commissionsLocal market knowledge, negotiation skills, stakeholder collaboration
AutomotiveHigh-value parts and vehicles, significant commissionsKnowledge of vehicles, trends, consumer preferences
Financial Services and BankingComplex financial products and servicesSpecialized financial knowledge, regulatory compliance, relationship management
Oil and GasHigh-value contracts, global industryGeopolitical factors, regulatory compliance, technical understanding
Luxury Goods and High-End RetailPremium products leading to higher commissionsBrand representation, client relationship management, personalized sales approaches

The Upward Salary Trend for Sales Managers in Public Administration

how much do sales managers make

Public administration duties include launching and maintaining government policies and programs. Where does the sales manager fit in public administration?

The sales manager needed in public administration is someone who can manage large teams of employees. These employees are similar to salespeople, who promote or “sell” government programs such as health care.

Government organizations hire sales managers with a proven track record of overseeing campaigns and the staff supporting campaigns. Organizations need a leader with proven organizational skills as well as people skills.

Industries with Emerging Opportunities for Sales Managers

how much do sales managers make

The role of a sales manager is evolving, and with the rise of different industries, new opportunities are becoming available. Below is an expanded analysis of emerging opportunities for sales managers in various fields:

1. Sales of Professional, Scientific and Technical Services:

  • Growth Areas: With advancements in technology, AI, and research, the demand for specialized services is increasing.
  • Sales Manager Role: Sales managers in this field must understand complex products and services and connect with a highly specialized customer base. This can lead to higher compensation for those with technical expertise.

2. Wholesale Trade:

  • Growth Areas: Wholesale is expanding in various sectors, such as electronics, food products, and pharmaceuticals.
  • Sales Manager Role: Sales managers in wholesale trade need to build relationships with retailers and oversee large, often international, sales operations.

3. Sales of Financial and Insurance Services:

  • Growth Areas: The finance and insurance sectors are growing due to more complex financial products and increasing awareness of risk management.
  • Sales Manager Role: Sales managers in this sector must have an understanding of financial products, compliance, and risk management, and their roles often include relationship-building with clients and partners.

4. Retail Sales Person Training:

  • Growth Areas: As the retail industry evolves, training retail staff to be more effective in sales is becoming a focus.
  • Sales Manager Role: Sales managers here might be responsible for developing training programs, tracking performance, and ensuring that sales techniques align with brand values.

5. Generalized Positions with Startups:

  • Growth Areas: Startups in various sectors, such as tech, healthcare, and green energy, are seeking seasoned sales managers.
  • Sales Manager Role: Sales managers in startups often wear multiple hats, overseeing sales, marketing, and growth strategies. This broader role can be both challenging and rewarding.

6. Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals:

  • Growth Areas: With the development of new healthcare technologies and treatments, there are opportunities for sales management.
  • Sales Manager Role: Sales managers in this field may work with hospitals, clinics, or pharmacies and must be knowledgeable about healthcare regulations and products.

7. Renewable Energy and Sustainability:

  • Growth Areas: The focus on green technology and sustainability has opened new doors for sales professionals.
  • Sales Manager Role: Sales managers in this field need to understand the technology and regulations surrounding renewable energy and must often engage with both B2B and B2C clients.

8. E-Commerce and Digital Platforms:

  • Growth Areas: The rise of online shopping and digital services offers opportunities for sales managers with expertise in digital marketing and e-commerce strategies.
  • Sales Manager Role: These sales managers oversee online sales channels, digital marketing efforts, and customer engagement, often working closely with tech teams.

In conclusion, the opportunities for sales managers are not confined to traditional sectors but are expanding into new and innovative fields. From scientific services to sustainability, these roles require specialized knowledge and flexible skills and often provide unique challenges and rewards. Sales managers looking for career growth should consider these emerging industries, as they are likely to offer diverse and fulfilling roles.

IndustryKey Growth AreasSales Manager Role Description
Professional, Scientific & Technical ServicesTechnology, AI, ResearchUnderstanding complex products/services; specializing in technical expertise.
Wholesale TradeElectronics, Food, PharmaceuticalsBuilding relationships with retailers; overseeing large/international sales operations.
Financial and Insurance ServicesComplex Financial Products, Risk ManagementUnderstanding financial products; relationship building; compliance and risk management.
Retail Sales Person TrainingRetail Industry EvolutionDeveloping training programs; tracking performance; aligning sales techniques with brand values.
Generalized Positions with StartupsTech, Healthcare, Green EnergyOverseeing sales, marketing, and growth strategies; multi-role responsibilities.
Healthcare and PharmaceuticalsNew Technologies, TreatmentsWorking with hospitals, clinics, pharmacies; knowledge about healthcare regulations/products.
Renewable Energy and SustainabilityGreen Technology, SustainabilityUnderstanding technology and regulations; engaging with both B2B and B2C clients.
E-Commerce and Digital PlatformsOnline Shopping, Digital ServicesOverseeing online sales channels; digital marketing efforts; customer engagement.

How Much Do Car Sales Managers Make?

Sales managers in the automotive industry make a salary range from $64,000 to $124,000.

Factors Impacting a Car Sales Manager’s Salary

how much do sales managers make

Various factors can influence a car sales manager’s salary, and it’s important to understand the nuances of this role in the automotive industry. The type of vehicle being sold, the location, education level, and experience of the sales manager all play a part, and additional factors can also impact the salary.

1. Type of Vehicle (New or Used):

  • New Vehicles: Selling new vehicles might require a different skill set, including knowledge about the latest technology and features. Sales of new cars may generate higher commissions.
  • Used Vehicles: Selling used cars might involve more negotiation and understanding vehicle maintenance and history, which may influence the commission structure.

2. Location in the Country:

  • Urban Areas: Locations with higher traffic and demand, such as cities, might offer higher salaries due to increased sales opportunities.
  • Rural Areas: More remote locations might have lower salary potential due to less demand and fewer sales.

3. Level of Education:

  • Higher Education: Sales managers with degrees in business, marketing, or related fields may command higher salaries.
  • Ongoing Training: Certifications and continuous education in the automotive field can also increase earning potential.

4. Years of Experience:

  • More Experience: Seasoned sales managers who have proven track records might earn higher salaries.
  • Less Experience: Entry-level managers or those with fewer years in the industry might earn less.

Additional Factors:

5. Reputation for Customer Service:

  • Since the industry involves ongoing service and repair, a good reputation for customer service after the sale can lead to more sales and potentially higher earnings.

6. Brand and Dealership Reputation:

  • Working for a prestigious brand or a well-reputed dealership may offer higher compensation.

7. Economic Factors:

  • The overall economic climate, consumer spending habits, and automotive industry trends can impact salaries.

8. Performance Incentives:

  • Many dealerships offer bonuses and incentives based on performance, which can significantly affect a sales manager’s total compensation.

9. Customer Demographics:

  • The target customer base and the specific needs and preferences of the local community can also influence a car sales manager’s salary.

10. Management Responsibilities:

  • A sales manager’s specific responsibilities, such as staff management, inventory control, and other managerial tasks, may also impact their salary.

The salary of a car sales manager is influenced by a multifaceted set of factors, ranging from tangible aspects like the type of vehicle and location to more complex considerations like reputation and economic conditions. Understanding these factors can help evaluate and negotiate the compensation package in the automotive sales industry.

how much do sales managers make

FAQs: How Much do Sales Managers Make

Why is the Average Sales Manager Salary higher in Metropolitan Areas?

The average sales manager’s salary is higher in Metropolitan areas due to the larger customer base, along with its potential for higher sales numbers. To reach that larger customer base, the sales manager typically oversees a large staff of salespeople.

What is the typical salary range for a Territory Sales Manager?

The average salary range is from $41,000 to $165,000 for a base salary.

How does the base salary of a sales manager compare to total compensation?

The total compensation is the base salary plus commission. Depending on sales numbers, the average commission can range from $25,000 to six figures.

How can a sales manager increase their base salary?

A base salary increase can be negotiated higher when a sales manager has a history of strong sales numbers, such as reaching and exceeding sales quotas. The base salary may also increase based on the number of years in the position.

Is there a significant difference between an average sales manager’s and a top-performing sales manager’s salary?

Yes! An average sales manager may be complacent and happy with the same sales production yearly. The top-performing sales manager is constantly striving to increase sales by hiring the right salespeople, training and motivating them and keeping the team focused on improving their sales commission numbers.

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Lisa Price Lisa Price is a freelance writer living in Barnesville, Pennsylvania. She has a B.A. in English with a minor in journalism from Shippensburg State College (Pennsylvania). She has worked as a trucking company dock supervisor, newspaper circulation district manager, radio station commercial writer, assistant manager of a veterinary pharmaceutical warehouse and newspaper reporter.

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