California Occupational Guides

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Detailed Guide for

Sales Managers in California

May also be called: Account Executives; Account Managers; Sales Directors; Sales Executives; and Regional Sales Managers.

What Would I Do?

Sales Managers direct a firm’s sales program. They work for diverse industries that sell a wide variety of products including automobiles, apparel, appliances, computers, and electronics. Firms also sell services, such as property management and Internet services. Sales Managers assign sales territories, set goals, and establish training programs for sales representatives.

Managers also monitor production and suggest methods for sales representatives to improve their sales goals. They communicate regularly with dealers and distributors to obtain feedback in an effort to maintain good customer relations. Sales Managers track the delivery of supplies and products to resolve difficulties that may have an adverse effect on sales. They analyze sales statistics to determine sales potential, inventory requirements, and to observe customer preferences. In large companies, Sales Managers supervise regional and local Sales Managers and their staff members.

Important Tasks and Related Skills

Each task below is matched to a sample skill required to carry out the task.

View the skill definitions
TaskSkill Used in this Task
Resolve customer complaints regarding sales and service.Service Orientation
Monitor customer preferences to determine focus of sales efforts.Customer and Personal Service
Direct and coordinate activities involving sales of manufactured products, services, commodities, real estate or other subjects of sale.Administration and Management
Determine price schedules and discount rates.Mathematical Reasoning
Review operational records and reports to project sales and determine profitability.Complex Problem Solving
Direct, coordinate, and review activities in sales and service accounting and recordkeeping, and in receiving and shipping operations.Coordination
Confer or consult with department heads to plan advertising services and to secure information on equipment and customer specifications.Sales and Marketing
Advise dealers and distributors on policies and operating procedures to ensure functional effectiveness of business.Persuasion
Prepare budgets and approve budget expenditures.Mathematics
Represent company at trade association meetings to promote products.Fluency of Ideas
Source: U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Information Network (O*NET)

Working Conditions

Sales Managers generally work in comfortable, well-lit offices close to those of the top managers. They often work long hours, including evenings and weekends.

Sales Managers may be required to travel extensively to national, regional, and local offices and to the offices of various dealers, distributors, and customers. Working to meet deadlines and sales goals can be stressful when problems arise.

Will This Job Fit Me?

Overall, Sales Manager positions are best suited for individuals with outgoing personalities who enjoy meeting new people and using the skills of persuasion and negotiation when interacting with customers and sales staff. The job of Sales Manager will appeal to those who enjoy taking the initiative to start up and carry out projects. Sales Manager occupations satisfy those with enterprising interests. For example, Sales Managers often develop creative ideas to motivate sales representatives to increase sales profits for the company.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

Sales Managers generally receive a base salary, an expense account, plus commission on their sales.


The median wage in 2016 for Sales Managers in California is $114,492 annually, or $55.05 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2016Low
(25th percentile)
(50th percentile)
(75th percentile)
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2016 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
View Wages for All Areas


Sales Managers can expect to receive benefits that include dental and medical insurance, 401k pension plans, vacation, and holidays.

What is the Job Outlook?

Most of the demand for Sales Managers is expected to come from the need to replace those retiring or leaving for other types of work. Some Sales Managers jobs are highly coveted and will be sought by other managers or highly experienced professionals, resulting in keen competition. College graduates with related experience, a high level of creativity, and strong communication skills should have the best job opportunities.

Projections of Employment

In California, the number of Sales Managers is expected to grow slower than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Sales Managers are expected to increase by 12.9 percent, or 8,700 jobs between 2014 and 2024.

Estimated Employment and Projected Growth
Sales Managers
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-Projected Year)
Additional Openings
Due to Net
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Projected Growth for All Areas

Annual Job Openings

In California, an average of 870 new job openings per year is expected for Sales Managers, plus an additional 1,600 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 2,470 job openings.

Estimated Average Annual Job Openings
Sales Managers
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-
Projected Year)
Jobs From GrowthJobs Due to
Net Replacements
Total Annual
Job Openings
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Data for All Areas

How Do I Qualify?

Education, Training, and Other Requirements

Many employers prefer to hire applicants with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, marketing, economics, or business law.


Many employers prefer to hire Sales Managers with previous sales experience and a successful sales history.

Early Career Planning

High school students interested in sales management jobs should take courses in business, mathematics, economics, communication, language arts including foreign languages, and computer technology as various software programs are used to write reports to track sales activities.

Continuing Education

Although continuing education is not required by law, life-long learning is very important to keep up on technological and product changes. Many businesses offer training to keep sales staff well informed about the services or product features that they are selling. Sales Managers may also attend conferences or seminars to learn about new product lines.

Licensing and Certification

Typically licensing is not required in California, except for Sales Representatives/Managers working in auto, cemetery, or home improvement sales.

Certification is not required by law. However, a number of associations offer voluntary certification or sales training seminars for career development. Refer to “Other Resources” for additional information. For more information, go to the U.S. Department of Labor's Career InfoNet Web site and scroll down to "Career Tools." Click on "Certification Finder" and follow the instructions to locate certification programs.

Where Can I Find Training?

There are two ways to search for training information:

Contact the schools you are interested in to learn about the classes available, tuition and fees, and any prerequisite course work.

Where Would I Work?

Sales Managers work in a wide variety of industries. The largest industries employing this occupation are automobile dealers, management of companies and enterprises, and computer systems design and related services. The largest industries employing Sales Managers are as follows:

Industry TitlePercent of Total Employment for Occupation in California
Management of Companies and Enterprises 6.9%
Automobile Dealers 4.1%
Electronic Markets and Agents/Brokers 3.8%
Computer Systems Design and Rel Services 3.7%
Clothing Stores 3.6%
Source: EDD/LMID Staffing Patterns

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers remains one of the most effective job search methods. The classified section of local newspapers are also a helpful job search resource. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at and CalJOBSSM at

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

Yellow Page Headings

You can focus your local job search by checking employers listed online or in your local telephone directory. Below are some suggested headings where you might find employers of Sales Managers.

  • Automobile Dealers
  • Business & Trade Organizations
  • Computer System Designers & Consultants
  • Incentive Programs
  • Management Consultants
  • Marketing Consultants
  • Marketing Research & Analysis
  • Sales Promotion & Counseling Service
  • Sales Training
  • Scientific Apparatus & Instruments

Find Possible Employers

To locate a list of employers in your area, go to "Find Employers" on the Labor Market Information Web site:

  • Select one of the top industries that employ the occupation. This will give you a list of employers in that industry in your area.
  • Click on "View Filter Selections" to limit your list to specific cities or employer size.
  • Click on an employer for the street address, telephone number, size of business, Web site, etc.
  • Contact the employer for possible employment.

Where Could This Job Lead?

Highly successful sales representatives are generally the candidates who are promoted to Sales Managers. Once in management, Sales Managers may advance into the positions of territory, branch, or division managers.

Related Occupations

Below is a list of occupations related to Sales Managers with links to more information.

Advertising Sales AgentsProfile
Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists*Guide
Marketing ManagersGuide
Public Relations SpecialistsGuide
Sales Representatives, Wholesale and ManufacturingProfile
First-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales WorkersGuide
Survey ResearchersProfile
Training and Development SpecialistsProfile
Wholesale and Retail Buyers, Except Farm ProductsProfile

Other Sources

These links are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement by EDD.

For the Career Professional

The following codes are provided to assist counselors, job placement workers, or other career professionals.

SOC - Standard Occupational Classification11-2022
O*NET - Occupational Information Network
   Sales Managers11-2022.00
   Interest Codes (RIASEC)ECS
CIP - Classification of Instructional Programs
   Business/Commerce, General 520101
   Business Administration and Management, General 520201
TOP - Taxonomy of Programs (California Community Colleges)
   Business and Commerce, General050100
   Business Administration050500
   Business Management050600