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

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

A career in sales can be very rewarding, but it’s important to understand the different types of sales positions before you begin your job search. Sales managers and sales representatives are two common roles in the sales industry. In this article, we compare and contrast these two positions, and we offer advice on how to decide which one is right for you.

What is a Sales Manager?

Sales Managers are responsible for leading and motivating a team of sales representatives to meet and exceed sales targets. They work with their team to develop sales strategies, create sales plans and set quotas. They also provide coaching and feedback to help their team members improve their performance. Sales Managers also track sales data and metrics to identify trends and areas for improvement. They may also give presentations to upper management to provide updates on their team’s performance and make recommendations for changes or improvements.

What is a Sales Representative?

Sales Representatives are responsible for generating new sales and business opportunities by working with customers and potential customers. They build relationships with customers, learn about their needs and recommend products or services that can address those needs. Sales Representatives work with customers throughout the sales process, from the initial contact to the close of the sale. They may also be responsible for providing post-sales support, such as answering questions about products or services, handling customer complaints or processing returns. Sales Representatives typically work in a fast-paced environment and must be able to juggle multiple tasks at once.

Sales Manager vs. Sales Representative

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

Job Duties

Sales managers have a lot of different job duties than sales representatives. The daily tasks for a sales representative depend on the type of product they sell and their customers. For example, a sales representative who works in a clothing store may ask their customers questions about what types of clothing they want and how much money they have to spend. Then, they can help them find products that fit those needs.

Sales managers have more job-specific duties. They usually manage the whole sales process for a company, from when a potential customer contacts them to when they receive payment for the products they sold. Sales managers also monitor their employees’ work and provide feedback to help them improve.

Job Requirements

Sales managers typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in business administration, marketing or another related field. However, some employers prefer candidates to have a master’s degree as well. Additionally, sales managers often have several years of experience working in sales before they are promoted into management positions.

Sales representatives usually only need a high school diploma or equivalent to enter the field. However, some employers may prefer candidates with an associate’s degree or some college coursework. Additionally, many companies offer training programs for sales representatives that teach them about the products or services they will be selling.

Work Environment

Sales managers typically work in an office setting, where they can collaborate with other members of their team and discuss strategies for reaching sales goals. They may also travel to visit clients or attend conferences related to their industry. Sales representatives usually work in a variety of locations, including client sites, trade shows and conventions. They often spend much of their time on the road, visiting different cities and states as part of their job.


Sales managers and sales representatives share some skills, such as customer service, communication and negotiation. However, they also have different skill sets that are necessary for their respective jobs.

A sales manager needs to be able to motivate and lead a team of sales representatives. They need to be able to delegate tasks, give feedback and provide guidance to help their team reach sales goals. They also need to be able to develop strategies for their team and monitor results to ensure the team is on track.

A sales representative needs to be able to build relationships with potential customers. They need to be able to identify customer needs and match them with the right products or services. They also need to be able to close deals and achieve sales targets.


Sales managers earn an average salary of $83,778 per year, while sales representatives earn an average salary of $62,309 per year. Both of these salaries can vary depending on the industry in which you work, your level of experience and the location of your job.


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