A career in Sales
For people who enjoy negotiating, planning, customer communications and clinching deals with people, a Sales career offers an excellent career path with great prospects for career development and responsibilities within the early years.
It has long been held that the best route into sales is with a larger company where plenty is invested in the recruitment, training and development of its personnel. Typically such companies have well-known brands and the employees of these businesses are deemed to have been classically trained. Some Sales roles are field based where many individual accounts are managed; other roles are head office based from where major accounts, such a national retail chains, are managed. Career success in the sales sector is ultimately down to the individual and their ability to take initiatives and achieve results.
A typical career path in Sales
Territory Telesales/Field Sales Executive – ?16,000 to ?22,000
this role is usually the first rung on the ladder to a career in Sales. Much time will be spent on the telephone and road visiting significant numbers of customers and putting all training into practice on the job. Typically there will be ongoing training throughout the first year and Sales employees can expect to meet up with regional colleagues on a regular basis.
Key Account Manager – ?24,000 to ?30,000
A Key Account Managers role is frequently split between?field work in a region and working in head office. Higher value accounts are often the focus, or companies with several outlets or branches. This position is often a first step into man-management. Training can be frequent in a Sales career as companies focus not only on personal development but also on educating their teams about new products and up and coming promotional activities.
National Account Manager – ?34,000 to ?44,000
this role carries a high level of responsibility and requires an in-depth knowledge of the company’s products and where they are positioned within the marketplace. A full appreciation of marketing promotions, product data and category management is essential.
Sales Director – ?60,000 +++
A Sales Director will be responsible for the entire sales performance of a company, or of major brands within a large organisation. Few people progress to director level before the age of 35.
The Typical job responsibilities of mid to senior level National Accounts Management
Day to day
- Meeting customers and selling
- Recruiting new staff
- Motivating, training and monitoring.
- Setting targets and budgets
- Major client entertaining
- Developing sales and marketing strategies
- Board liaison
- Setting trading terms
Want a career in sales?.Do`s and Don’ts
Do close the sale, both in your cover letter and your interview for a sales position. Employers hiring sales people want candidates who know how to close a sale. Thus, make sure that your “close the sale” in your cover letter by getting the interview
Don’t forget your transferable skills. If you have no direct experience in sales, think about all the sales-related things you’ve done that you can describe in an interview as transferable and applicable to sales. Have you done fund-raising? Given presentations? Solicited local businesses to participate in events? Demonstrated great people skills? Persuaded or convinced people to do things your way? Memorized food and drink orders as a waiter/waitress? These are just a few of the activities and traits that relate to sales. Coaching, teaching, playing on a sports team, and participating in university activities all provide appropriate transferable skills for sales
Do seek out employers who will invest in a solid and structured Sales training program, and support your professional growth, especially if you are new in sales.
Don’t pass up opportunities to learn more about sales and network with those who can help advance your career, such as through job-shadowing, and informational interviewing.
Don’t let rejection get to you. To be successful in sales, you can’t take rejection personally. You also need to be able to explain in a sales job interview how you will overcome the customer objections that can lead to rejection.
Do be persistent. If you have less sales experience than an employer seeks, you may be able to make up for it by being persistent. Persistence, after all, is one of the marks of a good salesperson.
Do seek out products and services to sell that you are already passionate about. Your enthusiasm in an interview will be much more convincing if you already believe in the employer’s offerings.
Don’t be negative. A positive, upbeat attitude is a must in sales. If you have difficulty breaking in right away, don’t start getting the blues. Keep your chin up and continue to show employers what an energetic, likable, confident person you are.
Do consider, if you’re a student, making your target company a project. Writing for Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News, Aissatou Sidime reported on Lanita Wiltshire, who pursued an MBA before hitting the job market but “focused all her individual class projects on then-emerging Merck Pharmaceuticals. She trotted out her presentations during an interview for an internship with Merck and landed the job.”
Do maintain a professional appearance. Many companies recruit sales people at career fairs, because they want to see your appearance, what kind of a first impression you make, and how you handle yourself before they even consider your qualifications.
Networking ?Successful sales representatives are individuals who take an aggressive approach to expanding their client base and sales.” Your personal/professional network is no different, and your ability to network will demonstrate your skills in relationship-building.
Learn more from an older, more experienced sales person who can show you the ropes.
Don’t abuse the perks of a sales career, such as your company car and expense account.
Do be prepared to work long hours, often by yourself or on the road.
Don’t forget the first rule of sales and marketing: The customer always comes first.