Sales managers are a crucial part of any organization, acting as coaches, mentors, and people managers, as well as ensuring that their sales teams hit quota, ultimately driving revenue for the business. Sales managers have a variety of responsibilities that vary with the size of the organization, but are often primarily responsible for establishing performance goals, setting territories, and managing sales pipeline for their teams. They are also responsible for recruiting, hiring, and training a team of sales representatives, and managing their team’s performance to achieve quarterly, and often, monthly goals.
Being a sales manager can be a challenging task, with constant pressure to meet increasing quotas, but it can also be quite rewarding, as most salespeople can attest to the thrill of closing a big deal or the excitement of seeing your direct reports grow and excel in their careers.
In this study, we ranked 340 U.S. cities to determine the most attractive cities for sales managers to pursue their careers in. We list the top 50 cities for sales managers below, and we also break down the top small, midsize, and large cities for sales managers.
Our analysis found that many of the best cities for sales managers are large cities, with 8 of the top 10 cities having populations of over 500,000. Larger cities are home to higher concentrations of businesses, fueling higher demand for sales managers and a larger number of jobs. At the same time, many of the large cities that ranked well in our study had a lower than average cost of living, with salaries that still topped the national average.
Best Cities for Sales Managers
1. Atlanta, GA
As the capital of Georgia and the state’s most populous city, Atlanta boasts a robust and diverse economy, with the Atlanta metropolitan area ranking 10th in the nation in gross domestic product (GDP). The city, which was originally founded as the last stop of a state-sponsored railroad, soon became a bustling transportation hub and convergence point for multiple railroad lines, spurring the city’s rapid growth and expansion. Today, Atlanta is still known as a significant transportation hub, with Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport being the world’s busiest airport by passenger traffic since 1998, and Delta Airlines maintaining its largest hub in Atlanta in addition to being the city’s largest employer.
Aside from transportation, Atlanta’s economy has grown in many other sectors, including media, professional and business services, logistics, and information technology. The city has even been nicknamed the “Silicon Peach” due to its rapidly growing technology sector. Atlanta is also home to a number of Fortune 500 companies, including the global headquarters of The Coca-Cola Company, The Home Depot, UPS, AT&T Mobility, and Delta Airlines.
Sales managers in Atlanta earn an average of $145,820, which is 4% above the national average, while also benefiting from a lower than average cost of living. Additionally, given Atlanta’s vibrant economy, the city enjoys a location quotient of 1.66, which means that the city hosts 66% more jobs for sales managers compared with the average U.S. city.
2. Bridgeport, CT
Bridgeport is the largest city in Connecticut and part of the Greater Bridgeport area and Fairfield County, one of the fastest growing counties in Connecticut. Bridgeport is a historic seaport city, and in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, was the heart of rapid industrialization. From manufacturing firearms to sewing machines to corsets, Bridgeport’s population boomed as it quickly became Connecticut’s industrial center. In the mid-20th century, as deindustrialization spread across the nation, Bridgeport shed thousands of jobs but eventually adjusted to become a service-based economy.
Today, Bridgeport’s largest employers are St. Vincent’s Medical Center and Bridgeport Hospital, and Fairfield County is home to a number of large financial firms, including Bridgewater Associates, one of the world’s largest hedge funds.
Bridgeport boasts some of the highest salaries for sales managers in our study, with an average annual salary of $178,890, which is 27% above the national average. Coupled with a location quotient of 2.12, meaning there are 112% more jobs for sales managers on a per-capita basis compared with the U.S. average, Bridgeport makes for a very attractive city for sales managers.
3. Midland, MI
Located in the Tri-Cities region of Central Michigan, Midland is a small city that was originally established as a fur trading post and is, today, best known for being the world headquarters for the Dow Chemical Company. Founded in Midland in 1897, Dow Chemical is Midland’s largest employer and has contributed significantly to Midland’s growth as an industrial innovation center. Midland is also home to the headquarters of the Dow Corning Corporation, Chemical Bank, and Midland Cogeneration Venture, the largest gas-fueled, steam recovery co-generation facility in North America.
Sales managers in Midland earn an above average salary of $148,170, which is 6% above the national average. Additionally, the cost of living in Midland is favorable, with a cost of living index ranking Midland 9% below the national average, meaning sales managers in Midland can enjoy comfortable lifestyles.
4. Cincinnati, OH
The first city to be founded after the American Revolution, Cincinnati is situated at the confluence of the Ohio and Licking rivers. Built on a history of river trade, Cincinnati was a boomtown in the mid-19th century, and today the city is the third largest in Ohio and part of the largest metropolitan area in Ohio. The Greater Cincinnati metropolitan area is also the fastest growing economy in the Midwest, home to an abundance of Fortune 500 company headquarters, including Proctor & Gamble, Macy’s, Inc, and The Kroger Company, which is the largest employer in the city.
Cincinnati sales managers earn on average $148,250 annually, 6% above the national average, while also benefiting from a cost of living that is 10% below the national average. Cincinnati’s cost of living index is one of the lowest for a big city in our study, meaning sales managers can enjoy the big city life without the typical big city costs.
5. Fayetteville, AR
Fayetteville is the third largest city in Arkansas and home to the University of Arkansas, the state’s largest university. Fayetteville is part of the four-county Northwest Arkansas metropolitan area, where the population doubled between 1990 and 2010. This torrid growth has been primarily fueled by the presence of three major corporations based in the area: Walmart, Tyson Foods, and J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. The growth of these Fortune 500 companies, along with associated suppliers and vendors that have been drawn to the region, has made Fayetteville an attractive city for business.
Fayetteville benefits from having one of the lowest costs of living in our study, clocking in at 13% below the national average. The average annual salary for sales managers in Fayetteville is also quite appealing, coming in at $147,380, 5% above the average.
Top Cities for Sales Managers by City Size
While many of the top cities in our study were large cities, the big city lifestyle may not be ideal for every sales manager. In order to highlight this distinction in lifestyle preference, our analysis segments cities into different sizes based on population, listing the top 10 small (population under 150,000), midsize (population of 150,000-500,000), and large (greater than 500,000 population) cities for sales managers.
Top 50 Cities for Sales Managers
Below, we list the top 50 cities for sales managers. In addition to the ranking, we provide the total number of jobs for sales managers, along with the average annual salary, location quotient, cost of living, and the size of the city.
|Rank||City||City Size||Average Annual Salary||Total Jobs||Location Quotient||Cost of Living|
|9||Kansas City, MO||Large||$149,770||2,820||1.01||94|
|18||Des Moines, IA||Large||$119,530||1,250||1.29||90|
|19||St. Louis, MO||Large||$134,500||3,380||0.95||91|
|21||San Jose, CA||Large||$168,300||7,800||2.66||242|
|22||New York, NY||Large||$195,680||29,660||1.19||146|
|32||Salt Lake City, UT||Large||$124,550||2,630||1.41||107|
|35||New Haven, CT||Small||$155,000||790||1.05||119|
|45||St. Cloud, MN||Midsize||$106,720||370||1.35||99|
|47||Boise City, ID||Large||$112,110||990||1.18||98|
AdvisorSmith’s study weighed several factors in determining the best cities for sales managers.
1. Average annual compensation for sales managers
Our study used the average annual salaries that sales managers in each city were paid, with cities with higher salaries scoring more highly in our study.
In 2018, the average annual salary for sales managers in the U.S. was $140,320.
2. Cost of living index for each city
Our analysis adjusted the salaries earned in each city by a cost of living index, in order to equalize comparisons across cities. The cost of living, including necessities such as rent, transportation, and groceries, varies by city, so it is important to normalize the salaries so that the cities can be compared fairly. Cities with a lower cost of living were ranked more highly in our study.
3. The density of jobs for sales managers in each city
The location quotient measures the availability of jobs for sales managers in a given city, relative to the total number of jobs in the city. Cities with a higher location quotient have a higher concentration of jobs for sales managers, which means more career opportunities for sales managers in those cities. Cities with higher location quotients ranked more highly in our study of the best cities for sales managers.
In 2018, there were 379,050 sales managers employed in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS also predicts that employment for sales managers will grow at a 7% pace over the 10-year period of 2016-2026, which is in line with the national job growth outlook.
 Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook
 Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics
 Sperling’s Best Places Cost of Living Index