Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to determine whether and how managing three aspects of design – the strategic role of design, outsourcing of design and organizational resistance to design – contribute to new product and service sales success. Design/methodology/approach: The study was conducted through an online survey of US-based innovation managers. Measures were developed from past literature. In total, 324 managers with at least two years of innovation experience in diverse industries completed the survey. The collected data was checked for measurement reliability and then was used to test a model through regression analyses. Findings: The model was significant, and each of the three aspects of design management was found to influence innovation sales in unique ways. The strategic role enhances sales, organizational resistance impedes sales and outsourcing strengthens then lowers sales. It makes no difference in results if the firms are manufacturers or service providers, indicating the model is robust across industries. Practical implications: Strategic (design role), operational (design outsourcing) and cultural (design resistance) elements of design management matter to innovation. To better ensure strong new product and service sales, firms should elevate the role of design in innovation, apply a combined approach of externalizing and internalizing the design function and reduce organizational resistance to design. Originality/value: This paper is one of the first to empirically examine the innovation impacts of design management, specifically determining the effects of design’s strategic importance, limits when outsourced and organization resistance on new product and service sales.