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Sales Manager vs Sales Rep

Sales Manager vs Sales Rep: Skills, Job Description, Salary, and Responsibilities

Table of Contents

When considering the differences between a Sales Manager vs Sales Rep, you want to know everything from skills and responsibilities to salary and job description. We’ll cover all of that in the article below. Reach out to top sales recruiters to help find your next salespeople.

What Is A Sales Manager?

A sales manager plays a key leadership role within a business. They are responsible for steering the sales team towards achieving the company’s sales targets. This management role requires a blend of sales experience and the ability to inspire high performance and motivation among team members.

Typically, a sales manager will develop and oversee sales strategies that are to be executed on by their sales team. This involves analyzing market trends, coordinating with other departments, and crafting sales plans aligned with the company’s goals. Their guidance is often the driving force in refining the sales process, ensuring it remains efficient and effective.

Sales managers are also team leaders, which means part of their responsibilities includes the recruitment and training of sales representatives. They might conduct performance reviews, offer mentorship, and provide feedback to help their team.

Sales managers monitor sales performance, employing various tools and metrics to assess the results. They identify areas for improvement and pivot strategies when necessary to maintain or increase sales metrics. By nurturing a positive and dynamic sales environment, they aim to keep the team focused and driven towards the business’s overarching sales objectives.

LeadershipDirect and motivate the sales team
Strategy DevelopmentCreate plans to achieve sales targets
Sales AnalysisReview and improve sales processes
Performance MonitoringAssess team results and provide feedback

What Is A Sales Rep?

A sales representative, often referred to as a sales rep, is a professional who works on behalf of a company to sell products or services. These individuals are critical in being directly responsible for acquiring customers. Sales reps need to know how to help their prospects make a purchasing decision.

Typically, sales reps operate in various settings, such as inside sales, where they connect with clients through phone or email, and outside sales, which involves face-to-face meetings. A core component of their role involves prospecting—searching for new customers or sales opportunities to expand the business’s clientele.

For someone pursuing a career as a sales rep, having excellent customer facing skills is essential. They manage accounts and maintain ongoing communication to ensure customer satisfaction, occasionally overlapping with the role of an account manager. Their ability to help customers solve problems is essential to success in the role.

Education requirements for sales reps can vary; however, many roles necessitate a background in business or a related field. Formal education can be beneficial, but oftentimes sales reps receive on-the-job training to refine their skills.

Sales representatives are the personal link between a business and its customers, leveraging their skills to meet sales targets and contribute to the company’s revenue goals.

Sales Manager Job Description

The role of a sales manager includes the coordination and direction of an organization’s sales team, ensuring that sales goals are met and even exceeded. Sales managers are expected to analyze sales data and metrics to inform strategies and report on performance.


  • Designing and implementing a strategic sales plan that expands the company’s customer base and ensures its strong presence.
  • Managing recruiting, objectives setting, coaching, and performance monitoring of sales representatives to hit their OTE.
  • Building and promoting strong, long-lasting customer relationships by partnering with them and understanding their needs.


  • Proven experience as a sales manager or similar leadership role in sales.
  • Strong business sense and industry expertise.
  • Excellent mentoring, coaching, and people management skills.

Skills and Education:

  • Bachelor’s degree in business administration or a related field may be required by some companies.
  • Sales Skills: Ability to create sales pitches, understanding customer psychology, and closing deals.
  • Analytical Skills: Proficient in handling sales statistics and able to analyze complex data to make informed decisions.

Experience: Sales managers typically have a background with years of experience in sales, particularly within the industry they’re managing. This on-the-ground experience is crucial for effective mentoring and coaching of sales reps.

A sales manager orchestrates the sales efforts of a company, leveraging their skills and experience to steer the sales team towards achieving targeted performance outcomes, cultivating client relationships, and interpreting key sales metrics for strategic advancement.

sales manager vs sales rep

Sales Rep Job Description

A sales representative helps with the direct growth of a company’s revenue. They are the primary point of contact between a business and its clients, tasked with the vital responsibilities of promoting and selling products or services.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Client Acquisition: Identify and reach out to potential clients to expand customer base.
  • Maintain Existing Accounts: Nurture relationships with current clients and manage renewals.
  • Sales Funnel Management: Guide prospects through the sales funnel, from lead generation to closing deals.
  • Customer Satisfaction: Work to understand customer needs and ensure satisfaction with the product/service offered.

Qualifications and Skills:

  • Educational Background: Typically requires a high school diploma or equivalent, with a Bachelor’s degree in business or a related field preferred.
  • Experience: Prior sales experience is beneficial.
  • Communication Skills: Excellent verbal and written communication skills are essential.
  • Interpersonal Skills: Strong interpersonal and negotiation abilities are required.

A sales rep must understand the products or services offered and the challenges faced by the prospect. The role demands a confident approach to handling the dynamic needs of customers and the ability to adapt to changing market trends.

Sales Manager Responsibilities vs Sales Rep Responsibilities

Sales Managers focus on overseeing the entire sales process, setting goals, and ensuring that the sales team aligns with the business’s strategic direction. Their key responsibilities include:

  • Strategic Planning: Developing sales strategies and setting targets.
  • Team Management: Managing the sales team and fostering a collaborative environment.
  • Performance Monitoring: Analyzing sales data and reporting on targets.
  • Coaching: Providing training and coaching to improve team performance.
  • Results: They are responsible for the team’s overall sales results.
sales manager responsibilities

On the other hand, Sales Reps concentrate on executing sales strategies through individual tasks. Their duties involve:

  • Sales Execution: Engaging with customers and pitching products/services.
  • Quota Fulfillment: Striving to meet or exceed personal sales quotas.
  • Focus: They focus on the customer-facing aspect of the sales process.
  • Feedback: Reporting customer responses and market feedback to managers.
  • Results: Sales reps are accountable for their individual sales performance.
sales rep responsibilities
Sales ManagerStrategic planning, team management, performance monitoring, coaching, driving team results.
Sales RepSales execution, quota fulfillment, customer interaction, feedback provision, achieving personal results.

Sales Managers require a broader view of the sales landscape and must be adept at guiding their teams. Sales Reps need to be highly skilled in interpersonal communication and persuasive in closing deals. While both roles aim to drive sales, managers are generally focused on shaping the team’s approach and its collective outcome, whereas reps are tasked with the groundwork of turning leads into customers.

Sales Rep Salary vs Sales Manager Salary

Sales reps and sales managers perform different roles within an organization and are compensated accordingly. Typically, a sales representative’s salary may comprise a base salary plus commissions, which are tied to the sales quotas they meet or exceed. Commission structures encourage sales reps to perform at their best to increase their take-home pay.

RoleBase SalaryCommissionAverage Total Compensation
Sales Representative$40,000 – $60,0002-10% of sales$50,000 – $80,000+
Sales Manager$50,000 – $70,000Profit-based bonus$70,000 – $100,000+

*Note: Salaries vary widely by location, industry, experience, and company size.

The above table contrasts the usual compensation for a Sales Representative against that of a Sales Manager.

Sales managers typically receive higher base salaries due to their added responsibilities and experience. Their compensation package might include a performance-based bonus, generally tied to the overall sales goals and performance of their team. This bonus reflects the manager’s role in strategic planning, team building, and achievement of sales objectives.

Both positions may benefit from additional perks, such as health insurance, retirement plans, and other benefits. The exact compensation for these roles can vary greatly depending on the individual’s performance as well as the organization’s compensation philosophy and the specific industry in question.

However, it’s possible for Sales Reps to out-earn their manager if they exceed their sales quotas.

Experience also plays a critical role, with seasoned professionals often commanding higher salaries and a better range of benefits. Furthermore, exceeding sales quotas can significantly increase a sales rep’s overall earnings, whereas managers often benefit from the collective success of their teams.

Which Job Title Is Higher, Sales Manager or Sales Rep

A Sales Manager holds a higher position within the hierarchy of a sales organization than a Sales Rep (Sales Representative). In terms of the organizational structure, the Sales Manager typically oversees the sales team, which includes Sales Reps. This management role involves strategic planning, leadership, and maintaining the bridge between the sales team and the company’s higher management and board.

  • Sales Manager
    • Strategic leadership and oversight
    • Directs sales team operations
    • Performance evaluation and management
    • Typically involved in hiring and training
    • Liason with upper management and board
  • Sales Rep
    • Direct sales activities
    • Customer relationship management
    • Achievement of sales targets
    • Reports to the Sales Manager

Their career paths can vary, but often a Sales Rep position is a stepping stone towards becoming a Sales Manager. Professional development and a strong sales record can lead to promotion within the industry.

Evolving from a Sales Rep to a Sales Manager requires a comprehensive understanding of the industry, a proven sales record, and the development of key management skills. The progression from Sales Rep to Sales Manager reflects an ascent in responsibility, decision-making authority, and a broader scope of management duties.

Sales Rep And Sales Manager Skills Compared

Sales Reps and Sales Managers both function as crucial players in the sales pipeline, yet their roles necessitate distinct skill sets. Both positions require strong communication skills for effective interaction with clients and team members. However, Sales Managers need to showcase proficient leadership skills to steer their teams toward achieving sales targets.

SkillsSales RepSales Manager
CommunicationCrucial for pitches, answering queries, and rapport-building.Necessary for team guidance, motivation, and strategy communication.
NegotiationKey for closing deals with clients.Applied in broader team or business negotiations.
Client RelationshipsEssential to maintain and nurture long-term client loyalty.Focused on developing broader client management strategies.
PresentationRequires effective demonstration of products/services.Involves training reps and presenting sales results to higher-ups.
Product KnowledgeMust have detailed understanding to convince potential buyers.Requires a strategic overview to guide product positioning.
Business AcumenNeeds to understand market trends relevant to sales.Essential for making strategic decisions and forecasting.
Sales StrategiesShould implement tactics to achieve individual targets.Must design and apply overarching strategies for the sales team.
Time ManagementImportant for managing individual schedules and client follow-ups.Critical for overseeing team operations and meeting company deadlines.
CRMMust regularly update customer interactions for future reference.Analyzes CRM data to refine sales processes and improve team performance.
LeadershipNot directly associated.Crucial for inspiring the team and driving sales performance.

A Sales Rep typically hones in on the day-to-day interaction with the potential customers, emphasizing the tactical aspects of selling. For Sales Managers, the focus expands to strategic oversight, providing overall direction and skill development for their sales representatives.

sales rep vs sales manager comparison

While there is an overlap in skills such as communication, and negotiation, a Sales Rep emphasizes direct selling skills, whereas Sales Managers balance those with broader strategic leadership. This clear delineation ensures that both roles function effectively within their domains to facilitate the company’s sales objectives.

You might also be interested in reading about Sales Director vs VP of Sales vs Head of Sales. and Sales Director vs Sales Manager

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