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Product Manager vs. Sales Manager: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

A product manager is responsible for the planning, development and overall management of a company’s products. A sales manager, on the other hand, is in charge of leading and motivating a sales team to reach their targets. Though both positions are important for the success of a business, they have different duties and responsibilities. In this article, we compare and contrast the job titles of product manager and sales manager.

What is a Product Manager?

A Product Manager is responsible for the development and management of products throughout the product life cycle. This includes researching, planning, designing, developing, launching and managing products. A Product Manager works with a team of engineers, designers, marketers and other professionals to bring a product to market. They are responsible for ensuring that the product meets customer needs and is profitable for the company. A Product Manager typically has a background in business, engineering or marketing.

What is a Sales Manager?

Sales Managers are responsible for leading and motivating a team of salespeople to achieve set targets. They work with their team to develop sales strategies and plans, and they also provide guidance and support to individual salespeople. Sales Managers also track sales metrics and performance, and they report this information to upper management. They may also be responsible for hiring and training new salespeople. In some cases, Sales Managers may also be responsible for developing and managing relationships with key clients.

Product Manager vs. Sales Manager

Here are the main differences between a product manager and a sales manager.

Job Duties

Product managers and sales managers perform different duties to fulfill their roles. Product managers create product requirements based on market research, customer needs and business goals. They also oversee the development process, evaluating each aspect as it occurs. In addition, they communicate with various internal and external stakeholders, such as designers, engineers, data analysts and marketing teams, to ensure all aspects of a product meet customer needs.

Sales managers work directly with sales teams to help them reach quotas. They provide direction by setting goals and creating action plans. They may also coach and mentor team members, providing support and guidance when needed. Finally, sales managers monitor progress and make adjustments as necessary to ensure continued success.

Job Requirements

Product managers and sales managers typically need a bachelor’s degree in business administration, marketing or another related field. Some employers prefer candidates to have a master’s degree as well, but it is not required for entry-level positions. Additionally, many product managers and sales managers pursue certifications through the National Association of Sales Professionals (NASP) or the American Marketing Association (AMA). These organizations offer training programs that teach professionals how to use sales software and other tools they might need on the job.

Work Environment

Product managers typically work in an office setting, but they may also travel to meet with clients or attend trade shows. Sales managers usually spend most of their time traveling and meeting with clients. They often travel for business purposes, such as attending conferences or visiting clients.

Product managers can work long hours when necessary, especially during the development process. However, sales managers typically work more traditional business hours because they’re constantly on the road.


Both product managers and sales managers use skills like leadership, communication and negotiation. However, product managers also need to have strong analytical skills to assess customer needs and market trends to inform their product development decisions. They also need to be able to work with cross-functional teams and understand the technical aspects of their products.

Sales managers benefit from having excellent people skills to motivate and manage their sales teams. They also need to be able to develop relationships with potential customers and close deals. In addition, sales managers need to have strong problem-solving skills to troubleshoot any issues that arise during the sales process.


Product managers earn an average salary of $98,439 per year, while sales managers earn an average salary of $83,778 per year. Both of these salaries can vary depending on the size of the company, the industry in which you work and the level of experience you have.


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