Is a sales manager career right for you?

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Prospective students considering an online MBA degree, as well as those currently in the program, have a wide variety of reasons for pursuing this field of study. Part of an MBA degree’s unique value stems from its versatility—the ability to be useful in many different career paths, industries, and business contexts. With that said, there are some roles where an MBA can prove to be especially helpful, such as the sales manager role.

A woman sales manager reviewing recent operational statistics on her desktop computer.

What is the sales manager role?

A sales manager can work with a wide variety of products and services in any modern industry. Despite all of the potential variance inherent in such a widespread and vital position, there are certain principles and processes that are found in nearly every sales manager position.

Sales manager job duties and responsibilities

One of the core considerations of the sales manager role is leadership within the sales department—being someone who can see the big picture and develop the workflows necessary for individual salespeople and the team to work toward it. Sales managers may or may not engage in the sales process themselves on a regular basis, as their efforts are best put toward management and development of the team and building relationships with customers. Sales managers serve as advisors to the sales team and may become directly involved in especially difficult, high-level, or otherwise important accounts.

Beyond day-to-day and long-term management of sales affairs, people in this role also have a variety of related responsibilities. These include: scouting and hiring talent analysis of inventory and communication with company leaders and production staff, collaboration with the marketing team to fine-tune customer outreach efforts, and much more. As a leader of sales efforts for a company, the sales manager has to focus on the many needs of their own team as well as develop effective communication with others.

In terms of technological skills, sales managers today need to be comfortable using various CRM systems, data analysis platforms, databases, and many other tools, from ERP software to word processors. Technical proficiency is increasingly important, as everything from smartphones to complex internal computer networks are used on a daily basis by sales managers and their teams. Outside of the realm of technology, various interpersonal abilities are necessary for positive performance. They include persuasive skills, organizational talent management, effective communication with employees in a wide range of situations, and handling potentially difficult conversations with customers who feel confused or wronged about a specific transaction.

Sales manager career outlook and salary expectations

The sales manager is a core role in the hierarchy of many modern companies. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for this position is $121,060. Total employment in this field is roughly 386,000 people across the country, with average job growth, between 5 and 9 percent, projected through 2026. That means about 36,000 new positions should open up in the field through the same time period.

How to become a sales manager

Reaching the sales manager position generally requires experience in the world of sales. This can come from a number of sources, from a front-line salesperson to more junior sales management roles that often report to a sales manager. The other component of the role, the management aspect, often requires education in this field, such as through an MBA degree, professional experience in lower-level management roles, or some combination of both. While an MBA degree itself isn’t required for a large majority of sales manager positions, it provides a powerful advantage that is easily complemented by past experience in both sales and management.

How UAB helps MBA students prepare for sales manager roles

An online MBA degree can provide supplemental experience and a wide variety of educational opportunities that allow graduates to better prepare themselves for a sales manager role. The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s MBA program includes a number of relevant courses, such as Management and Organizations, Quantitative Analysis for Business Managers, Marketing Strategies, the Strategic Management capstone course, and many others. These classes offer exposure to concepts that can prove vital in a variety of sales positions. From learning about best practices for leading professional teams to developing a deeper understanding of marketing strategies, students have many opportunities to make themselves stronger candidates for sales management roles.

UAB’s online MBA degree program is a great fit for professionals who already have a number of personal and professional commitments to juggle. A completely asynchronous learning environment, top-flight staff and much more make UAB a convenient, effective and valuable choice. Learn more about the MBA program by reaching out to an enrollment advisor.

Recommended Reading:

What is an MBA?

Why UAB? The benefits for online students


UAB Collat School of Business: Course Descriptions MBA

UAB Collat School of Business: Online MBA Degree Program

O*Net Online: Sales Managers

NASP: What is a Sales Manager?

US News and World Report: Sales Manager

BLS: Sales Managers