Both sides had suffered losing starts to their European campaign, meaning today's encounter was something of a must-win clash following the strong starts Munster and Saracens have made in Pool One.
It was Clermont, who reached the final four last season, that started the brighter, with Nick Abendanon opening the try scoring in the 16th minute after an incisive break down the right, ably converted by the impressive Camille Lopez.
Danny Cipriani replied almost instantly with a penalty as Sale tried to stay within touching distance of their hosts, but the boot of Lopez proved decisive as two penalties from the French fly-half put Clermont 13-3 ahead at the interval.
Lopez extended the lead with another penalty five minutes after the restart, before Napolioni Nalaga charged over for a try on 56 minutes, which Lopez surprisingly pushed wide.
Nalaga grabbed his second try on 75 minutes when he finished off a flowing Clermont break, with Lopez stroking the conversion home.
With the home side dominating, the bonus point win was wrapped up when Clermont favourite Aurelien Rougerie touched down two minutes from time.