Start your career and earn big: choose a career in sales 

Published: 28 Jun 2016 By

Sales positionThis is a call to all job seekers and dissatisfied workers: we have sales positions but lack enough candidates. Start a new job in sales in 2016 and enjoy the many benefits that this career path has to offer. Sales provides opportunities to start a career after education, switch to a role that provides progression, guidance and training, and take on leadership and responsibility. Here’s everything you need to know about the industry. 

Types of sales work

Sales provides an exciting and versatile career path, but professionals generally fall into a sub set of dominant categories: 

  • Telesales: this is described as a remote service which directly sells products and services to the public or B2B sector. Telemarketing campaigns can vary from providing public information to creating interest in a promotion or product line. 
  • Sales representative: Individuals in this position specialise in the selling of goods or services within a particular industry, for example pharmaceutical products, property services or retail. Key tasks range from making appointments with existing and prospective clients, receiving orders, meeting sales targets, travelling to conferences to keep up with the latest trends and advising clients.
  • Sales manager: once you’ve found your feet in sales, you may be promoted to position of team manager or area manager. This role is generally more about delegation and (you guessed it) management rather than direct activity with customers and clients. Key tasks include recruitment, analysing sales figures and developing strategies. 

Salaries and career progression

Current UK average salaries in the sales industry will also give you an idea of career progression: 

Telesales: £29,000
Sales Executive: £30,500
Media Sales: £35,400
Field Sales: £38,000
Business Development: £38,970
Sales Manager: £43,400
Regional Sales Manager: £43,500
National Sales Manager: £56,160
Sales Director: £89,500

Average salary: £36,549

Working conditions

  • ‘Hunters’ generally travel to prospects and existing clients, while ‘farmers’ are most likely to deal with inside sales and discuss business over the phone or face-to-face with potential clients who come to them. 
  • Inside salespeople work exclusively from an office over the phone and via email. Their main goals are to nurture and build relationships with clients and, although some cold calling is required for lead generation, they are not classed as telemarketers. 
  • Some professionals split their time between the office and field sales, like development managers and account managers. 

What you need to succeed

Some sales positions ask for previous experience in customer services, face-to-face sales experience, or any experience of selling products and services to others, but the majority of entry level positions focus on personal attributes and soft skills. Some roles may also require that candidates have a UK driver’s licence if travel to remote locations is required. Sales skills have altered to meet the demands of an increasingly digital-based working environment, but many hard skills are learnt as a professional progresses in their role. 

Personal attributes: 

  • Perseverance
  • Flexibility
  • Drive
  • A willingness to learn 
  • Creativity

Soft skills:

  • An ability to work independently as well as part of a team
  • Problem solving abilities
  • An ability to communicate effectively with a variety of customers and clients
  • Able to delegate and manage
  • Organisation and planning skills to meet targets under pressure

Hard skills: 

  • An understanding of SEO/SEM marketing
  • Data analysis
  • Experience of storage and management systems
  • Knowledge of integration software – automated marketing software 

James Dempster, MD at Cobb Digital, still has a love for sales after almost twenty years: “I’ve been in sales since the ripe old age of 14, with my first job selling magazines door-to-door. I still have a love for sales some (almost) 20 years later. I personally think that sales is one of the best entry points into the world of work as it teaches so much about the important parts of life – how to communicate, how to listen and how to follow through with promises. To be effective in sales you need to work hard, understand your product and know how to relate it to your market. Get stuck in, it is fun.”

Make a change this year and take a positive step in your career. View our current sales jobs to find the perfect role for you.  

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