How to Become a Sales Manager: The Ultimate Guide

Wondering how to become a sales manager? You've come to the right place! In this guide, we'll teach you everything about to become a successful sales manager.

Do you know how to become a sales manager? Well, sales has always been an art form, but sales management makes it a science. A sales manager is responsible for driving the entire sales team to achieve strategic goals that will grow the business.

The role of sales manager is crucial in any environment, B2B or B2C. It requires both business fundamentals (finance analytics) and strong leadership qualities such as communication and management.

Sales heads are responsible for overseeing a company’s sales force. They set sales goals, manage sales quotas, plan sales and align the team with the company’s larger strategic objectives. They mentor, train, and hire the sales team at a micro level.

They analyze sales data and try out new, agile sales strategies. How to become a sales manager involves combining the proven principles of an old-school sales professional and the cutting-edge techniques and data-driven strategies of the modern business world.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were more than 397,900 managers of sales in the United States in 2020. The industry was expected to add nearly 27,900 positions by 2030. This job rewards performance well: The average annual mean wage for a sales manager in the United States is $147,580.

However, the competition is increasing and employers are looking for sales managers who have the right combination of education, sales experience, and management skills. Check out our step-by–step guide to becoming a top-ranking sales manager.

Successive Sales Managers have the following personality traits

There are many types of sales heads. Their end-products can range from software, hardware, and services. Despite the diversity of their end-products, there are some common traits that make successful sales leaders.

  • Communicative. It’s not just about selling a product, but also motivating others. Sales managers must have strong communication skills to communicate with their staff and understand their unique needs.
  • Mentally agile. Managers who are successful don’t get stuck in a routine. They must be open to trying new sales strategies and reverting to old ones in constant optimization.
  • Analytical. In a world of data-driven analysis, the 20th century image of a suit-clad salesman entering a business meeting with only common sense and gut feeling is no longer relevant. Managers today have all the bravado of their legendary predecessors but they also use hard numbers and complex statistical analysis to supplement it.
  • Goal-Oriented. This yardstick has remained the same over the years, and goal orientation is key to success in this industry. It’s not just about achieving strategic goals. It’s also about setting sales goals that are realistic and align with the company’s broader goals.

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree (For Four Years)

After graduation from high school, sales managers must earn a bachelor’s degree. Management, accounting, finance, economics and statistics are all good options. Although admission requirements vary from school-to-school, they generally include the following: a competitive highschool GPA (3.5 or higher), SAT and/or ACT scores, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University offers an online bachelor’s degree in business administration. It prepares students to manage business groups of any size. Students learn how to forecast demand, conduct negotiations, develop long-term plans and analyze financial data.

The courses include topics such as communication and business, business analysis, mathematics for problem solving, and actionable analysis; leadership and organisation; and marketing and performance. The 120-credit program can be divided into two parts.

Graduates of the program are able to apply their skills in key areas such as planning inventory and developing sales strategies for the future, forecasting demand, purchasing services, negotiation skills and skillful negotiations. They can be business analysts or customer service managers, general managers, or human resources managers, sales managers, or purchasing managers.

  • Location: Phoenix (AZ)
  • Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • Time to Completion 48 Months
  • Tuition Fee Estimated: $688 per credit

University of Illinois Chicago

The University of Illinois, Chicago offers an undergraduate degree in management. It teaches students how motivate and direct others. The program’s varied curriculum includes leadership, strategy, and managerial management as well as human resource management. The program’s faculty includes real-world managers with real-world experience.

The courses include topics such as organizational theory and leadership theories, strategic analysis, reporting, managerial consulting, managerial effectiveness through diverse perspectives, negotiation and conflict resolution, and structured problem solving for consulting projects. The 120-credit program consists of 12 courses. This program provides students with the knowledge and skills to manage people and organizations.

Students acquire essential skills in managing conflict, leading and leading teams, and developing strategies to help businesses succeed.

  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • Time to Completion 48 Months
  • Estimated Tuition: In-state ($5,388); out-of-state ($12,563)

Florida International University

An online bachelor of business administration degree is offered by the R. Kirk Landon Undergraduate School of Business at Florida International University. There is also a management concentration. This program provides a solid foundation for accounting, finance, statistics, and marketing. Students will be able analyze and evaluate business problems, control costs and improve efficiency, and make business decisions.

Online applications are required to be submitted in order to be accepted into the program. International applicants will need official English language proficiency scores, such as the TOEFL or IELTS.

The 120-credit program includes courses in organizational behavior and human resources management, executive skills development and happiness at work, international management, business ethics, and international management. It also offers courses in entrepreneurship, new business development, and strategic management.

  • Location: University Park, FL
  • Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • Time to Completion 48 Months
  • Estimated Tuition: In-state ($228.81 per credit); out-of-state ($345.87 per credit)

Trine Univ

Trine University offers an online bachelor of science in business administration with a major in management. It focuses on helping students to develop leadership and managerial skills in order to ensure that their organization is moving in the right direction. This ACBSP-accredited management program will equip students to lead organizations into the future. They will also be able acquire core business competencies like finance, accounting, and marketing.

The 120-credit program includes courses in risk management management, business analytics, leadership principles, managerial finance and global strategy management. It also covers organizational behavior, designing operations, project management principles, and organizational behavior.

Students can access classes at their own pace with this asynchronous program. Graduates can assume leadership roles in small and large companies, industrial settings, not-for-profit, family businesses, and as project managers or supervisors.

Students have the option to pursue a combined degree program, in addition to their bachelor’s degree. It is possible to combine it with an MBA, master’s in business analytics, or both, and complete both degrees within 48 months.

  • Location: Angola, IN
  • Accreditation: Accreditation board for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).
  • Time to Completion 48 Months
  • Estimated Tuition: $399 Per Credit

Step 2: Gain early experience in the workplace (one to five year).

Management of sales is not an entry-level position. It is rare for college graduates to be hired in this job. Sales managers must have practical experience after graduating from university. Employers are looking for candidates with at least one to five years of sales experience. This can be a very valuable experience. Sales managers will learn about the daily operations and leadership skills of a sales team. They will also learn which market niche they feel most comfortable in. Employers may also offer financial assistance to employees who want to pursue graduate-level education.


Step Three: Get a Master’s degree (optional, two-year)

It is not mandatory for all managers and executives but it is becoming a standard requirement for those at the top. A master’s in business administration (MBA) gives graduates a deep understanding of leadership and the ability to motivate sales teams to achieve their short-, medium- and long-term operational goals. Although admission requirements can vary from school to school, they usually include a competitive undergraduate grade of 3.0 or better; GMAT/GRE scores; work experience; letters of recommendation; as well as a personal essay.

Northeastern University’s D’Amore McKim School for Business

Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business offers an online MBA program. You have the option to choose from eight popular concentrations: finance, high-tech management, healthcare management, and innovation entrepreneurship. This online MBA program is for working professionals. It fits seamlessly into busy work schedules.

The program is 50 credits in length and helps students acquire real-world skills that they can use in their chosen industry. These courses include management of people and organisations, ethics in work environments, creating and maintaining customer markets, operations, supply chain management, managing global enterprises, making strategic decisions in a changing world; market-focused strategies; and managing people.

An undergraduate degree from an accredited university is required for this program. You will also need a 3.0 GPA, five years of leadership experience, an application form and a personal essay.

  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • Time to Completion 24 Months
  • Estimated Tuition Fee: $1640 per Credit

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University offers an affordable online MBA program. It is both flexible and affordable. Students can choose from 17 different concentrations to help them focus on the skills they are most interested in. These include leadership, healthcare management, engineering management, and business intelligence.

The program is 30 credits long and includes courses in leadership and organizational strategies in a global context, innovation strategy to high-performance organisations and measuring success within an organisation.

The faculty at SHNU are specially trained instructors who can help students improve and achieve academic success. They help students develop in-demand skills in complex problem solve, creativity, critical thought, cognitive flexibility and people managing.

All applicants must complete the graduate application, transcript release forms for each school attended, and the graduate attestation form. Include your undergraduate grade point average, conferral dates, and transcript release forms for all schools attended. Admission is not dependent on GRE/GMAT scores.

  • Location: Manchester, NH
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP); New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).
  • Time to Completion 12 Months
  • Tuition Fee Estimated: $627 Per Credit

Concordia University St. Paul

Concordia University, St. Paul offers an online master of business administration program that allows students flexibility and allows them the opportunity to continue their studies while working. Students have the option to choose between hybrid or online classes. Students will be able apply theoretical and practical knowledge in areas like communication, business analytics, strategic decision-making, and more. The faculty members have years of real-world experience.

The 36-credit program includes coursework on organizational leadership and management, integrated market communication, managerial research methods and designs, global economics and legal environment for managers, operations, technology management, strategic human resource management, and global economics.

Candidates who have earned a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited university and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 are eligible for admission. Official transcripts are required. Also, submit an online application. Admission is not dependent on GMAT or GRE scores.

After completing the program, graduates have many options. Graduates can be promoted to many roles, including location managers, human resource managers and entrepreneurs.

  • St. Paul (MN).
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Time to Completion 24 Months
  • Tuition Fee Estimated: $625 Per Credit

University of Denver

Online MBAs are offered by the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business. This program prepares students for leadership roles in the market by combining management training, business foundations, and immersive learning experiences. They will be able to lead with purpose and vision, and become indispensable to their companies. Students can choose from a variety concentration options including finance, marketing, and executive leadership. Students will have the opportunity for two required immersions to international and domestic destinations.

You will need a bachelor’s degree from a regional college or university. Additionally, you must have at least two years’ experience in professional work. GMAT and GRE scores can be optional.

The program is 60 credits long and includes courses in strategic management, statistical management, leading people or organisations, managerial finance and strategic leadership.

  • Location: Denver, CO
  • Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • Time to Completion 21 Months
  • Estimated Tuition: $13,383 per Credit


Step Four: Consider Professional Certification (Optional, Timeline Varies).

After completing their master’s degree, many managers seek professional certification. This certification is a way for managers to show their expertise and further their education. These certifications are peer-reviewed marks that distinguish one and can be used to help one rise up the ladder and show employers that one is committed best practices.

The National Association of Sales Professionals offers certification for Certified Professional Sales Leader (CPSL). The CPSL is designed for sales managers and other professionals interested in leadership positions. It builds on the strategy leadership process and incorporates psychological and emotional drivers of team action.

Online training programs that last 45 days are available to applicants. They learn how to influence behavior, and guide sales teams towards strategic goals. After completing the program applicants will receive the CPSL certificate. The program costs $795.

Sales & Marketing Executives International offers certification for Certified Sales Executive. This program is designed for sales professionals in management positions or aspiring to become one. It is an online self-study course that covers both the theoretical and practical aspects of leading a global sales team.

After completing the online courses modules, applicants must pass a three-hour exam consisting of 180 questions. The program is $1,039 for professional members of SMEI. CSE-holders must renew their certification every year by paying $95 annually, and completing 20 hours of continuing education.

How to become a sales manager: Here are some resources

Sales management is all about relationships and networks. While each company may sell a different product to its customers, the same principles and best practices for sales management can be applied to all. The following resources will give you a glimpse into how to become a sales manager and where it is heading.

  • National Association of Sales Professionals
  • Sales Management Association (SMA)
  • Sales & Marketing Executives International (SMEI)
  • International Journal of Sales Transformation



A sales manager is responsible for driving the entire sales team to achieve strategic goals that will grow the business. The role of sales manager is crucial in any environment, B2B or B2C. It requires both business fundamentals (finance analytics) and strong leadership qualities such as communication and management.


More Posts:

SaaS, Software-as-a-Service

SaaS: A Comprehensive Guide to Software-as-a-Service in 2023

The world of software has evolved tremendously, and one of the most notable developments is Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). SaaS has transformed how businesses operate, offering a

SaaS Products: Software-as-a-Service is all about the Product

Explore the key fundamentals of SaaS products and common reasons for their failure. Dive into the importance of cultural focus, simplified pricing, and why SaaS is all about the Product.

Send Us A Message